CHANDLER, Ariz. – Senior Bethany Leclair had a memorable final collegiate round that almost rallied the Lumberjacks to a Big Sky Conference Championship. Leclair got as low as six-under par helped by a five-under par 31 on the first nine holes at Ocotillo Golf Resort to break the school single-round scoring mark.
But the Lumberjack rally came up short despite pushing the Portland StateVikings until the final hole. NAU shot a 291 team score to finish 11 strokes back of team champion Portland State. The Vikings, which led by 10 strokes entering the final round, led by only four strokes at one point during the round, finished with a 290 for a three-day total of 880.
"It was a valiant effort to shoot a great score and Bethany played phenomenal," said Head Coach Brad Bedortha. "We weathered the storm at the beginning and battled back to cut it to four strokes. We have nothing to be disappointed about and I could not be more proud."
Portland State opened the day with two eagles in the first two holes.
NAU's three-round total of 891 was the fourth-best team score in tournament history and second lowest non-winning score. The total would have won 16 of the previous 18 tournaments.
Leclair finished with a five-under par 67. Leclair's five-under par 67 broke the NAU school record and reset the Big Sky Championship record. Portland State's Yada tied the previous mark of four-under par 68 on Tuesday set by Sarah Kuykendall of Sacramento State (2005), Taya Battistella of Portland State (2003) and Stephanie Kim of NAU (2010).
"She was lights out," said Bedortha. "It was so fun to watch her play and compete. It was awesome to watch."
Leclair had birdies on No. 3, 5, 7, 8 and 9 to card a personal-best five-under 31. She added a sixth birdie at the par-5 11th hole. She gave back two strokes with bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes. She finished with her seventh birdie at the 16th hole before completing her round with two pars.
"It felt amazing," said Leclair. "I had a two-footer on 18 to break the record and I knew I had to make it. It is amazing and I do not even think that describes it."
Leclair's score bettered the four-under par 68 by Stephanie Kim at the Wyoming Cowgirl Classic in 2010 for the new school record.
She also set the Big Sky Tournament scoring mark with one-under par 215 with rounds of 73-75-67 held by teammate Stephanie Kim, only to have the mark broken 12 minutes later by 2011 Big Sky Champion Brittney Yada. Yada finished with a three-round total of six-under par 210. Leclair finished second overall, tying her highest finish of her career equaled during her freshman season in the championship.
Senior Alexa Kim was fifth overall with a six-over par 222 after a two-over par 74 in the final round. Freshman Kaitlen Parsons tied for ninth at 10-over par 226 following a 76, the top freshman in the field.
Sophomore Stephanie Kim, the defending champion in the event, tied for 16th at 13-over par 229. She went 77-77-75 in the three-day event. Senior Dakin Whitmer closed her career with a 77 to tie for 26th overall in the field.
Big Sky Championship
Wednesday, April 20
Ocotillo Golf Resort
Par 72, 6,162 yards.
1. Portland State 303-287-290=880 +16
2. Northern Arizona 304-296-291=891 +27
3. Northern Colorado 308-305-613=908 +44
4. Montana 304-307-303=914 +50
5. Sacramento State 312-312-308=932 +68
6. Montana State 319-304-311=934 +70
7. Weber State 321-319-306=946 +82
8. Eastern Washington 322-314-316=952 +88
9. Idaho State 335-343-320=998 +134
1. Britney Yada, Portland State 72-68-70=210 -6
2. Bethany Leclair, Northern Arizona 73-75-67=215 -1
3. Carleigh Silvers, Northern Colorado 76-72-71=219 +3
4. Ashli Helstrom, Montana 73-71-77=221 +5
5. Alexa Kim, Northern Arizona 78-70-74=222 +6
T6. Alexia Brown, Portland State 77-75-71=219 +7
T6. Lauren Howell, Montana 73-77-73=223 +7
8. Ali Nelson, Northern Colorado 75-77-73=225 +9
T9. Samantha Saffold, Sacramento State 76-76-74=226 +10
T9. Tiffany Schoning, Portland State 79-74-73=226 +10
T9. Kaitlen Parsons, Northern Arizona 75-75-76=226 +10
Northern Arizona Single Round Records
Bethany Leclair, 2011 Big Sky Championships 67
Stephanie Kim, 2010 Wyoming Cowgirl Classic 68
Stephanie Kim, 2010 Price's Give Em Five Intercollegiate 69
Alexa Kim, 2009 Grand Canyon Women's Fall Invitational 69
Stephanie Kim, 2010 Big Sky Women's Championship 69
Bethany Leclair, 2009 Wyoming Cowgirl Classic 69
Sophia Choi, 2008 NCAA Western Regional Preview 69
Lauren Gray, 2003 Lady Aztec Fall Invitational 69
Lauren Gray, 2001 Ptarmigan Ram Fall Classic 69