Ohara, McNeill and Johnson anchor Bucs on day one of Cougar Classic

Ohara, McNeill and Johnson anchor Bucs on day one of Cougar Classic

HANAHAN, S.C. – Charleston Southern's Bella Johnson, Hayley McNeill and Milleina Ohara each recorded two-over par 74's to lead the Bucs on day one of the Cougar Classic at Yeamans Hall Club. CSU's 10-over par 298 puts it in 17th place in a tight field featuring programs from the SEC, ACC and Big Ten.

CSU is only ten shots back of ninth-place South Carolina with 36 holes left to play. Furman had three players go under par and is in the lead at 10-under par, three strokes in front of North Carolina and four in front of Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons' Sierra Sims holds the individual lead thanks to a six-under par 66.

CSU coach Matt Cram-Smith's club has enjoyed a strong start to a much anticipated season. The Bucs challenged for the team title at the CSU Invitational and followed up with a solid showing at the Lady Pirate Intercollegiate. Smith was happy with his team's effort in the opening round of what is always one of the better courses and fields on the Bucs' schedule.

"The girls played pretty solidly today," Cram-Smith said. "It wasn't easy out there and they fought really hard. I was really proud of Milleina for shooting 74 in her first competitive round at Yeamans. Tomorrow, we should have better greens in the morning so hopefully a few more putts will go in for us."

Ohara recovered from two bogeys to get back to even par with a birdie at the par-four 11th hole, highlighting her round. McNeill tallied a birdie on the closing par-five 18th to end her day on a high note. Johnson played a steady even-par back nine to finish in a tie for 51st with her teammates. The senior birdied the par-three 13th.

Emelie Flink and Shelby Thompson finished at four and six over, respectively. Thompson was runner-up at the CSU Invitational, earned all-tournament honors at the Lady Pirate Intercollegiate and has five rounds of par or better already in the fall.

CSU will play alongside Maryland and Penn State on Monday and goes off the first hole beginning at 8:45 a.m.