Photo by Mackenzie Kasper, Big Sky Conference
CHANDLER, Ariz. – Northern Arizona senior Bethany Leclair shot a one-over par 73 to lead the Northern Arizona women's golf team after the first round of the 2011 Big Sky Conference Golf Championships at the Ocotillo Golf Resort in Chandler, Ariz.
Defending champion Portland State holds a one-shot lead over NAU and Montana after the first round of the 2011 Big Sky Conference Golf Championship presented by Black Clover.
"It felt like I hit it really well," said Leclair. "I missed a short putt on the first hole for a bogey so I thought it was going to be a rough day but I made two good putts on the second and third holes to get my confidence up. I just kept going. I am happy with how I played."
Leclair paced Northern Arizona's 304 to finish one of three golfers one stroke back of Portland State sophomore Britney Yada, who fired an even-par 72 to take the individual lead.
Portland State shot a 15-over-par 303 during Monday's opening 18 holes. PSU won the Wyoming tournament by 28 strokes, a tournament that included all nine Big Sky teams. The Vikings, however, have their hands full this go-round. Ashli Helstrom and Lauren Howell each shot 1-over-par 73s to help Montana to a 304.
"We still have two days left and we are right there," said Leclair. "I know we will put two good rounds together and get right up there."
Head Coach Brad Bedortha was pleased with the opening round that finished with five teams within 10 strokes of the lead.
"We hung in there well enough to keep ourselves in the game," said Head Coach Brad Bedortha. "We did not play our best golf today but they gutted it out and finished strong."
Portland State senior Kalyn Dodge is one of four golfers tied for fifth place at 75. PSU
senior Alexia Brown shot a 77, while freshman Lauren Taylor and junior Tiffany Schoning shot 79. Northern Colorado is in fourth place following a 308 Chelsea Silvers and Ali Nelson of Northern Colorado both fired 75s.
Sacramento State is in fifth place at 312, followed by Montana State (319), Weber State (321), Eastern Washington (322) and Idaho State (335).
Defending champion Stephanie Kim of Northern Arizona shot a 79 and is one of five golfers tied for 21st.
Montana State freshman Paige Crawford is tied for ninth place at 76. Crawford shot a three-under-par 33 on the back nine, including an eagle on the 318-yard, 13th hole. It was one of three eagles on Monday. Eastern Washington Eagle Kellie Holmstedt closed her day with an eagle on the par-5, 18th hole en route to a 76. Montana's Olivia Weber, who also fired 76, eagled the par-4 15th hole.
Tuesday's second round begins at 6:30 a.m. Pacific. The tournament concludes on Wednesday.
Big Sky Golf Championship
Monday, April 18, 2011
Ocotillo Golf Resort, Chandler, Ariz.
Par 72, 6,162
1. Portland State 303 +15
T2. Northern Arizona 304 +16
T2. Montana 304 +16
4. Northern Colorado 308 +20
5. Sacramento State 312 +24
6. Montana State 319 +31
7. Weber State 321 +33
8. Eastern Washington 322 +34
9. Idaho State 335 +47
Top 10 Individuals
1. Britney Yada, Portland State 72 E
T2. Bethany Leclair, Northern Arizona 73 +1
T2. Ashli Helmstrom, Montana 73 +1
T2. Lauren Howell, Montana 73 +1
T5. Kalyn Dodge, Portland State 75 +3
T5. Kaitlen Parsons, Northern Arizona 75 +3
T5. Ali Nelson, Northern Colorado 75 +3
T5. Chelsea Silvers, Northern Colorado 75 +3
T9. Olivia Weber, Montana 76 +4
T9. Samantha Saffold, Sacramento State +4
T9. Paige Crawford, Montana State +4
T9. Kellie Holmstedt, Eastern Washington +4
T9. Carleigh Silvers, Northern Colorado +4