The tournament is a 54-hole sneak preview of the course that will host the 2013 Big Sky Championship set for late April. Senior Robin Hutchinson paced UND with an 87 (+15) on the Par-72 layout in central Arizona.
The Green and White stand in 10th (359, +71) in the 11-team field as McNeese State raced out of the shoot and has a 16-stroke lead on the field. The Cowgirls posted a 300 (+12) to put some distance between them and the host Lumberjacks, who carded a 316 (+28).
"The conditions were really tough today and we put up too many big numbers," UND head coach Natalie Martinson said. "We'll have to find a way to avoid those tomorrow, but this is a good test for us as we start the spring season.
"Hopefully, the girls get a good feel of how this course plays and how well they will have to play to compete against the best of the Big Sky."
Hutchinson was the lone UND golfer to break 90 in the opening 18 holes as freshman Abbie Mozetti turned in a 90 (+18), while sophomore Amanda Fairweather and senior Shantel Montgomery each shot a 91 (+19).
UND will resume round two play on Tuesday.
Team Scores (Top 5)
1. McNeese State (300, +12)
2. Northern Arizona (316, +28)
3. Weber State (327, +39)
4. Southern Utah (329, +41)
5. British Columbia (330, +42)
t43. Robin Hutchinson (87, +15)
t50. Abbie Mozzetti (90, +18)
t54. Amanda Fairweather (91, +19)
t54. Shantel Montgomery (91, +19)
t58. Megan Grozdanich (94, +22)
-- Go UND --