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Women’s Golf Holds First Round Lead at Big Skys

Live results of the play at Ocotillo Golf Resort are available online at www.golfstat.com

Photo by Big Sky Conference

CHANDLER, Ariz. – Senior Megan Buck and freshman Stephanie Kim both carded under-par rounds to help Northern Arizona post a one-stroke lead after the first round of the 2010 Big Sky Conference Championships presented by Black Clover at Ocotillo Golf Resort.

NAU, the preseason favorite and defending champion, posted a six-over par 294 to hold a one-stroke advantage over Portland State (295) and five strokes over Sacramento State (299). Northern Colorado is fourth overall at six strokes back. The Lumberjacks’ 294 round is tied for the fifth-best team round in championship history and second-best round posted by a NAU team (292, 2007).

“We came in here knowing it was going to take three good rounds to win this tournament,” said Head Coach Brad Bedortha. “It is going to be 54 holes of competitive golf.”

Buck recorded a collegiate-best two-under par 70 with a round that included five birdies and three bogeys. It is tied for the seventh-best round in championship history and she is in second-place overall.

“It feels great,” said Buck, who improved on her low single-round score of 71 set at the Grand Canyon Fall Invitational. “It is really nice to post a good score on the first day and help the team out.”

Buck went one-under with a birdie at the par-4 third hole before posting back-to-back bogeys on the par-5 sixth and par-3 seventh. She made the turn at even after recording a birdie on the ninth and then had another at the 356-yard, par 4 10th hole. She moved to two under after birdie on the par-4 13th. She dropped one stroke with a bogey on 14 and closed with a birdie on the par-5 18th with a long, uphill putt.

“Megan played great today,” said Bedortha. “She has been playing great but has not finished well. Today she talked about not thinking to far ahead and playing her next shot. She was very focused and wanted to play.”

Freshman Stephanie Kim continued her strong play after winning the Wyoming Cowgirl Classic on this course two weeks ago. She posted a three-under par 69 to lead teammate Buck by one stroke after 18 holes.

“She is playing lights out,” said Bedortha of Stephanie Kim. “She is playing with a lot of confidence and know how she wants to play the shots. It is unbelievable to watch.”

Kim opened the round with a birdie on the par-5 1st before four straight pars. After a bogey and two birdies over the nest four holes, she made the turn at two-under par 34. She bogeyed the par-4 10th but rebounded with a birdie at the 11th and moved back to three-under with a birdie at the 378-yard, par 4 14th. She finished with four straight pars.

The 69 was her second-best round of the season, one stroke of her school-record 68 recorded in the first round of the Wyoming Cowgirl. It is tied for the third-best round in the Big Sky Championship.

Junior Dakin Banta is tied for eighth overall after a three-over par 75. Junior Bethany Leclair had an 80 over the first 18 holes, while junior Alexa Kim had an 81.

The second round will be contested on Tuesday starting at 6:30 a.m.

“It is really good competition,” said Buck. “I feel if we play really well everyday we can do it.”

DID YOU KNOW…Junior All-American David McNeill finished second and fellow junior Jordan Chipangama placed fifth to lead the Northern Arizona men’s cross country team to its second fourth-place finish in three years and third consecutive Top 10 finish at the 2009 NCAA Cross Country Championships.

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