ATHENS -- Emilie Burger happily blamed her nerves. Her coach Josh Brewer preferred to call it adrenaline.
Whichever, the senior played through the first round of her first NCAA Women's Golf Championship finishing 3-over par, despite three birdies and playing on her home University of Georgia Golf Course. The 3-over par put her eight back of the first day leader Regan De Guzman ,who shot 5-under in her morning round.
"I hit the ball really well. I had a lot of lip-outs, which is good," Burger said. "It shows that I am stroking it well. Eventually, they are going to fall. I am excited to see about tomorrow. I left on a good note and I am excited to see how tomorrow happens."
She finished her round with two pars, just missing birdie putts on both holes. But that's how the day went for the Mill Creek graduate and lone Georgia player in the championship field. She lipped out birdie putts on 12, 13 and 14 and more on the front nine.
"It's frustrating because they are not going in, but you have to take it as a positive too," Burger said. "You are hitting it close and you know eventually they are going to drop. I am just looking forward to seeing them drop tomorrow and in the next few days."
It's a tough order. Even with 54 holes to play, there are nearly 70 golfers between her and WAC freshman of the year De Guzman.
Though not ideal, her position is near where her head coach Josh Brewer thought she may end the first round. He's coached as an assistant and played in NCAA Championships before.
"I thought she'd struggle early. I am not saying nerves, just anxious, she was amped up," the first-year head coach said. "It took us a while to figure out her yardages with her golf club. She's been good about it all year. You hear about adrenaline and we saw it today. It just took us eight or nine holes to figure it out."
Burger said she didn't settle down until after the fourth hole, by then she was 2-over. But she birdied No. 5 and followed with a bogey on No. 6. She bogeyed, and once double-bogeyed, after all three of her birdies Tuesday.
"I think, again, just adrenaline, playing here and wanting to end her career the right way," Brewer said. "She has a few more days."
The double-bogey especially hurt. She opened her back nine with a three on the par 4 10th to drop to just 1-over par. Her approach on No. 11 sailed on her to the back of a double-tiered green. Her chip went past the hole and after she chipped up she missed the putt.
"It was just an 'uh-oh' kind of thing," Burger said.
"It's golf, you play 72 holes, you are probably going to make an error out there this week," Brewer said. "She just got it out of the way on the 11th hole this tournament instead of the 70th or 72nd."
Brewer and Burger both walked away carrying upbeat attitudes. She tees off today in the afternoon. Brewer will be out this morning watching golf and scouting the course and pin placements. Tuesday's round was the first he spent with Burger in the past month, the late-season tournaments with his younger golfers.
"I needed her, being a senior, to go to the SECs, go to regionals and do what a senior All-American is supposed to do," Brewer said. "It's probably good for her and I today. We tried to feel out each other and figure out what she needs for me and what advice I can give her. She's been an All-American all year without me. I'll let her figure it out the next three days and she can call me in when she needs me."
And Burger knows she has more golf to play.
"I have to have a few putts drop," she said. "I just need to continue doing what I am doing. Just stay patient. I have a lot of golf left, 54 holes, I just have to continue to stay patient and hopefully a few of those putts will drop."