SEDONA, Ariz. – Senior Dakin Whitmer posted a one-over par 73 to hold a two-stroke lead after the first day of the Red Rocks Invitational hosted by Northern Arizona University at the Oakcreek Country Club. Whitmer helped the Lumberjacks record a nine-stroke lead over Western Michigan after 18 holes.
NAU finished with a 304 team score at 16-over par to lead the field. The Lumberjacks are nine better than Western Michigan and 11 ahead of Montana. Nevada and Grand Canyon round out the top five/
Senior Alexa Kim carded a three-over par 75 to tie with Leah Grawburg of Western Michigan for second overall. Sophomore Stephanie Kim tied for seventh with a 77. Senior Bethany Leclair was three strokes back at 80 in a tie for 17th. Freshman Kaitlen Parsons posted an 83 in the first round.
Whitmer's 73 is tied for ninth-best all-time in tournament history, while the team's 304 is eighth best all-time.
"I changed my swing last Friday and for one week I have been working with an entirely new concept," said Whitmer. "I was coming in with an open mind and making sure I was doing what I was supposed to and practicing. I guess it worked."
She leads teammate Alexa Kim and Western Michigan's Leah Grawburg by two strokes.
The Lumberjacks are the defending champions in the event and are in position to win for the third time since 2006.
"Everyone came together and we have a nine-shot lead going into tomorrow," said Whitmer. "You always want to have a nice gap going into the final round. The weather was poor today and supposed to be worse tomorrow. We have been practicing really hard. I think we are going to pull it together."
The second and final round will be contested on Saturday with a 9 a.m. shotgun start weather permitting.