TUCSON, Ariz. - With 18 holes to play, the Colorado women's golf team has put itself in position to make a run at the Pac-12 title.
After a 2-under 286 in Tuesday's second round of the Pac-12 Championship at Sewailo Golf Club, the Buffaloes are just seven shots back of first-place UCLA going into the final round.
"It's very exciting and I'm just so happy for the team because they're a great bunch of young women and they've worked really hard," CU head coach Anne Kelly said. "It's nice to see their hard work starting to pay off.
"For our team to have an opportunity to go in there and compete for a championship, that's what it's all about it."
UCLA, which also led after Monday's first round, went 3-under for the day on Tuesday and sits at 1-under par for the tournament.
CU, which began Tuesday in a tie for second place, is at 6-over for the tournament, 12 shots better than third-place Stanford (18-over). Host Arizona is 22-over and Arizona State is in fifth, at 23-over.
Through two rounds, the Buffs have been rather steady, leading the field with 109 pars.
"It's warm, but it's really windy and it really takes a lot of mental discipline to play this course in these conditions and they're doing a great job of handling it," Kelly said of her team. "They're just managing the course really well."
Individually, the Buffs have four players in the top 10, led by freshmen Kirsty Hodgkins and Robyn Choi.
Hodgkins sits in fourth place with an even-par 144 through two rounds. She is seven shots behind first-place Lilia Vu of UCLA. On Tuesday, Hodgkins carded a 2-under 70, with four birdies along the way.
Choi is in a tie for fifth at 1-over after a 73 on Tuesday. Junior Brittany Fan is tied for seventh, at 2-over, and senior Esther Lee is tied for ninth at 3-over.
While catching Vu might be difficult, Kelly won't put it past her players.
"If they can get going and get on a birdie run and see what happens, you just never know," she said.
Great individual performances on Wednesday would give the Buffs a chance at their first-ever conference title.
CU's best conference finish came in 2006, when it was third at the Big 12 Championship. The Buffs' best finish since joining the Pac-12 in 2011-12 is fifth place (in both 2015 and 2016).
Kelly doesn't want her team to worry too much about the overall results, however.
"I want them to go out and play a good round of golf and see what happens," Kelly said. "If somehow we can catch up to UCLA and pull out the win, that would be fantastic, but you can't think about that. That can't be our focus; it has to be the same (as in the first two rounds) of just one shot at a time and analyzing the conditions and for them to make the right decision to hit the right shot for each hole."