GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Freshmen Marina Alex and Andrea Messer each shot a 1-under 69 Thursday and led Vanderbilt’s women’s golf team to third place after the first round  of the NCAA Division I Women’s East Regional.
Overall, the Commodores were 6-over, one stroke ahead of the fourth-place team, the University of Denver, and three behind first-place East Carolina.
Alex and Messer were two of nine players in the field  of 108 who broke par at the 6,023-yard Mark Bostick Golf Course. Alex  made birdies and two bogeys, and Messer  made four birdies (three straight on Nos. 11-13) with three bogeys.
Junior Brooke Goodwin was 1-over as Vanderbilt placed three players among the top 20.
Vanderbilt was second among eight SEC teams in the 21-team field. Alabama was second overall at 4-over, Tennessee was tied for seventh at 12-over, and Georgia was ninth at 17-over.
Play continues through Saturday. The top eight teams will advance to the NCAA Championship, May 19-22 at Owings Mill, Md.