CHANDLER, Ariz. – Senior Alexa Kim posted a two-under par 70 to help the Northern Arizona women's golf team stay in contention for the 2011 Big Sky Golf Championship heading into the final round.
The Lumberjacks posted an eight-over par 296 to stay within striking distance of Portland State, which carded a tournament-best and school record 287 to extend their lead to 10 strokes entering the final round. It was the second-best single-round team score in Big Sky tournament history. Montana recorded a 307, finishing third with a two-day total of 611 and 11 strokes behind NAU.
"We need to play well tomorrow but we showed we have the ability to compete and that is what I wanted to see out of us," said Head Coach Brad Bedortha. "Hopefully we can come back and put another good score together."
NAU struggled on the front nine before rallying late in the round. The Lumberjacks played the final four holes a combined six-under par and were one-under par as a team over the final nine holes.
"We were in some trouble at the turn. For the girls to step up and play how they did on the back nine, we stepped up when we needed to," said Bedortha. "They kept us in the match and I was proud of their effort."
Alexa Kim's round was the first under-par round of the tournament until Portland State's Brittney Yada finished with a four-under par 68 to tie the tournament record. Yada leads the tournament by four strokes over Montana's Ashli Helstrom of Montana. Portland State's Kalyn Dodge is third overall.
Alexa Kim improved eight strokes on Tuesday after posting a 78 in the first round, moving from a tie for 18th into a tie for fourth at four-over par 148. Kim is tied with teammate Bethany Leclair at 148 after recording a three-over par 75 in the second round.
"Alexa has struggled the last six or seven rounds she has played here," said Bedortha. "For her to step up today was huge for us."
Kim was one of three golfers to improve their second round score by eight or more strokes from the first to the second round and was the largest mover in the field. The two-under par 70 tied the second best round of her career and was a season-best, tying a pair of 70s shot at the Rose City Collegiate in the fall.
The senior from Chandler's round featured two bogeys and four birdies, including a pair of closing birdies on the 17th and 18th holes.
Freshman Kaitlen Parsons is tied for seventh after her second consecutive 75 at six-over par 150 entering the final round. She is the top freshman in the field.
Defending champion Stephanie Kim, who is from Tempe, Ariz., finished with a four-over par round of 76 that was up and down. She had a 40 on the opening nine holes with three bogeys, a triple bogey and two birdies. She bogeyed the 11th before carding a birdie on the 12th to get back to four-over par. She then doubled the 13th holes and had a bogey on the 14th to get up to seven-over par. She finished with three birdies on the last four holes to finish at four-over par.
Senior Dakin Whitmer finished with an 83 but went one-under par over the last seven holes and recorded a 37 on the back nine holes.
The third and final rounder will be played Wednesday morning at the Ocotillo Golf Resort. NAU will play with Portland State and Montana for the second consecutive day starting at 8 a.m.
Big Sky Championship
Tuesday, April 19
Ocotillo Golf Resort
Par 72, 6,162 yards.
1. Portland State 303-287=590 +14
2. Northern Arizona 304-296=600 +24
3. Montana 304-307=611 +35
4. Northern Colorado 308-305=613 +37
5. Montana State 319-304=623 +47
6. Sacramento State 312-312=624 +48
7. Eastern Washington 322-314=636 +60
8. Weber State 321-319=640 +64
9. Idaho State 335-343=678 +102
1. Britney Yada, Portland State 72-68+140 -4
2. Ashli Helstrom, Montana 73-71=144 E
3. Kalyn Dodge, Portland State 75-72=147 +3
T4. Carleigh Silvers, Northern Colorado 76-72=148 +4
T4. Alexa Kim, Northern Arizona 78-70=148 +4
T4. Bethany Leclair, Northern Arizona 73-75=148 +4
T7. Kaitlen Parsons, Northern Arizona 75-75=150 +6
T7. Lauren Howell, Montana 73-77=150 +6
9. Paige Crawford, Montana State 76-76=151 +7
T10. Ali Nelson, Northern Colorado 75-77=152 +8
T10. Samantha Saffold, Sacramento State 76-76=152 +8
T10. Alexia Brown, Portland State 77-75=152 +8
T10. Lauren Taylor, Portland State 79-73=152 +8
Other NAU Scores
T19. Stephanie Kim 79-76=155 +11
T28. Dakin Whitmer 78-83=161 +17