FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Sophomore Stephanie Kim leads by two strokes after posting an even-par 72 in the first round of the Hilton Garden Inn Mountain Shootout Monday at Forest Highlands Meadows Course.
The Lumberjacks posted a 22-over par 310 to tie Grand Canyon for second overall, five strokes back of Southern Utah, who finished at 17-over par 305. California Baptist, Utah Valley and Cal State Bakersfield rounded out the field with three individuals from Arizona.
Kim, the defending Big Sky Conference Player of the Year, carded a round of 72 with three birdies and three bogeys to lead the field and enter the final round with a chance to win her fourth collegiate tournament. She captured medalist honors at the Grand Canyon Fall Invitational, the Wyoming Cowgirl Classic and the Big Sky Championships during her freshman season.
"I felt pretty good about the round today," said Stephanie Kim. "I was two under at one point after a par-birdie-birdie start. I made a lot of long putts today but missed a lot of short birdie attempts so it evened out. I am going to play it one shot at a time and not worry about the score tomorrow."
Bedortha was glad to see Kim back atop the leader board. With a fourth tournament victory, she would tie the school record held by Eleanor Pilgram and Louise Davis with four tournaments wins in her career.
"Stephanie is a great player," said Head Coach Brad Bedortha. "She went about her business today and shot a 72. She always seems to post a good score and it was good to see her post that round."
Senior Alexa Kim is tied for sixth overall after a five-over par 77, while freshman Kaitlen Parsons is one stroke back after recording a six-over par 78. Senior Dakin Whitmer shot a 11-over par 83 and freshman Catherine Benscoter posted a 90 in her collegiate debut.
"We have to come out tomorrow and play a good round of golf to win. The good news is they know they have to play well to compete. Hopefully they will come out tomorrow prepared and ready to go to shoot a good score."
The teams will play the second and final round on Tuesday with a shot gun start at 10 a.m. on the Meadows Course.
Forest Highlands Golf Course
Par 72, 6188 yards
1. Southern Utah 305 +17
2. Grand Canyon 310 +22
2. Northern Arizona 310 +22
4. California Baptist 322 +34
5. Utah Valley 349 +61
6. Cal State Bakersfield 362 +74
1. Stephanie Kim, NAU 72 E
2. Sadie Palmer, SUU 74 +2
3. Kacy Buckner, SUU 75 +3
3. Ashley Mooney, GCU 75 +3
5. Brittany Penny, GCU 76 +4
6. Kaohi Loo, SUU 77 +5
6. Alexa Kim, NAU 77 +5
6. Tiffany Hewetson*, GCU 77 +5
6. Haley Andreas*, Arizona 77 +5
10. Kaitlen Parsons, NAU 78 +6
10. Kirsten Keyser, California Baptist 78 +6
Other NAU Results
20. Dakin Whitmer 83 +11
30. Catherine Benscoter 90 +18