*__Can South Carolina keep up its stellar play from the first round at Penn State?
__*The Gamecocks had just two top-five finishes in nine starts this season, giving little reason to believe that they would be leading Alabama by four strokes at the East Regional after 18 holes. Then again, two years ago Kalen Harris' squad surprised everyone by claiming the East Regional title after being the 10th seed entering the tournament. I'm not sure exactly what Harris is telling her players, but every other coach in State College might want to consider eavesdropping.
However, to expect South Carolina to repeat its Thursday performance, when the team shot a even-par 288, tying for the 10th best round in school history, is asking a bit much. The team had just one other round of par or better this spring and hadn't broken 300 in a month. Still, they've given themselves a nice cushion for the next two days.
*__Can Duke and Texas make up for their missing players?
__*The Blue Devils will play the rest of the East Regional with just four golfers in the lineup as sophomore Alejandra Cangrejo, runner-up at the ACC Championship, injured her elbow in the middle of the first round at Penn State U. GC.
"I told them the good news is they only count four scores every day," Duke coach Dan Brooks said of his conversation with the team after learning of Cangrejo's status. "We would really be in trouble if they counted five. We have won with four [golfers in the past]. Duke has done some really special things with four. We can have a nice story to tell."
Indeed, with Cangrejo withdrawing before she finished the round, Duke managed a 14-over 302 total to finish the day T-11, just three back of eighth-place Oklahoma State. Playing with just four is not ideal, but the tournament is far from over.
The Longhorns, meanwhile, are competing with a full five-player lineup, but it doesn't include junior Madison Pressel. The 2011 Big 12 champion has been sidelined with a right shoulder injury that will keep her out of the rest of the postseason. If coach__Martha Richards__' fivesome felt any extra pressure without one of their standout golfers on the course, they didn't show it, posting an eight-over 296 to end the first round tied for fourth thanks to senior Nicole Vandermade's even-par 72.
__*Where did Sydney Burlison's 67 at Colorado National come from?
*__Perhaps the better question is 'Why hasn't it happened earlier?' The Cardinal senior was a highly decorated junior when she arrived in Palo Alto who never quite lived up to her billing. For much of the 2011-12 season, she's been out of the lineup dealing with injuries. Yet with a career-low five under score Thursday afternoon, which included six birdies and one bogey, Burlison propelled Stanford to the top of the leader board at the West Regional while taking the individual lead.
Given Stanford's track record at Regionals, Burlison's start might not so unexpected. The Cardinal has successful advanced to the NCAA Championship 12 out of the last 14 years.