The Bruins didn’t exactly live up to their ranking this week.

In its first tournament of the 2010 spring season, the No. 1 UCLA women’s golf team fell behind early and never rallied back from an 11-stroke deficit during the opening round of the Northrup Grumman Regional Challenge at the Palos Verdes Golf Club.

The Bruins finished tied for fourth with No. 3 Arizona State at 898 (+19). They trailed third-place No. 34 Ohio State by only one stroke. USC, ranked 8th nationally, nabbed the title with a total score of 876 (+12), only three strokes ahead of the No. 14 Pepperdine Waves, who finished second in the tournament.

The Waves’ Lisa McCloskey nabbed the individual title with 211 (-2), the only under-par score on the leaderboard.

None of the Bruins finished in the top five of the tournament.

“We were a little disappointed in how we played, but we’re just going to kind of take positives from it and learn from our mistakes and just to learn a lot on what we need to work on individually and as a team,” Bruins senior Sydnee Michaels said.

UCLA’s top finisher, junior Glory Yang, relied on consistent scoring throughout the tournament to come in at sixth place with 220 (+7). Her final round score of 72 (+1) allowed her to leapfrog nine spots on the leaderboard.

“I think Glory had a pretty solid round today,” Michaels said. “She didn’t have any really bad days at all … she was hitting the ball really well coming into the tournament. She kept it together really well.”

The Bruins may have been hampered by the absence of sophomore Stephanie Kono due to injury, but according to Michaels, that wasn’t the case.

“She’s one of our top players, and she’s a solid player, and she always brings in solid scores,” Michaels said. “We would have loved to have her play but we really felt that the team we had coming in here we felt really confident, and we didn’t feel like we had a setback.”

Michaels carded 76 (+5) in round three to finish tied for 19th. The senior captain posted 225 (+12) on the tournament, only one stroke ahead of freshman Tiffany Lua, who finished in a tie for 21st. Sophomore Brianna Do recorded a total score of 229 (+16) to tie for 33rd.

Rounding out the Bruin lineup, Junior Lalita Boonnoppornkul finished tied for 49th at 232 (+19).

Freshman Stacy Kim competed as an individual and came in at 77th with 247 (+34).

Michaels said that the Bruins’ disappointing finish was due to their short game.

“We struggled a little bit around the green,” she said.” Especially on this course in particular, you need to be able to have a really good short game to back you up.

“So I think that’s going to be our next focus over the next few weeks and month, to nail our short game ““ chipping and putting.”

Up next for the Bruins is the Bruin Wave Invitational in March.

“We’ve got another month to prepare for our next tournament,” Michaels said. “We’re just going to take (this tournament) as a positive and take it as motivation to work hard and tighten up our game.”