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Golf: Lambert girls surge into first place at national tournament
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Lambert sophomore Sara Im tees off on hole No. 15 Tuesday during the Area 2-7A tournament. - photo by David Roberts

PINEHURST, N.C. — Lambert's girls golf team is 36 holes from national acclaim.

The Longhorns fired a 4-over 292 Wednesday during the first round of the NHSGA High School Golf National Invitational at Pinehurst Resort, which gathers the nation's top girls golf teams over a three-day, 54-hole tournament. 

Iris Cao carded a 1-under 71 to finish second individually and help stake the Longhorns out to a 12-stroke lead over second-place Lexington High School (S.C.). Averi Cline finished third with an even 72, while Sara Im shot a 2-over 74, and Sharon Mun had a 3-over 75.

Cao trails only Isabella Rawl (Lexington), who shot a 2-under 70 and is the only other golfer to finish under par.

Cao's only misstep came early in the round, when her double-bogey on a par-four 4th hole erased an early birdie. But Cao dialed in and parred 12 of the next 14 holes, birdying holes 12 and 17 to bring her back under par.

In all, Lambert counted eight birdies, with Cline providing three of her own. Cline mastered the course's short holes, finishing 2-under on par threes. Her birdie on a par-three 8th allowed her to take the turn at one shot under par, then another birdie on a par-three 15th broke a string of bogeys and brought her back even. 

Im parred all but two holes, while Mun raced out of the gate with a pair of birdies on her first two holes. 

Katherine Chang also competed for the Longhorns and carded a 16-over 88, though the tournament counts only the top four scores from each team.

Lambert will tee off tomorrow beginning at 8:50 a.m. on Pinehurst No. 6's first hole. Click here to track the tournament.