CHANDLER, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona women's golf team opens play at the 2012 Big Sky Conference Championship Sunday with a berth into the NCAA Championships at stake.
"I would say at this point in time we are one of five or six teams that can win it," said Head Coach Brad Bedortha. "I don't think that has been said in a long time. I think it is going to be exciting. There will be a lot of swings in placing from day-to-day and especially going into the final day if it is close."
The Lumberjacks are coming off a 14th-place finish at the Wyoming Cowgirl Classic held at the Ocotillo Golf Course. For the fourth straight season the 54-hole Big Sky Championship will be played at Ocotillo, a course where Portland State shot a Big Sky record 880 en route to the 2011 championship.
NAU shot a season-best 294 in the second round at the Cowgirl Classic event a week ago and all five players set or tied their season or career best scores for a single round at the event.
"The players know if they show up and play well, anyone can win it," said Bedortha.
Bedortha will look to his two experienced players to lead the way for his team.
"The biggest thing is lead by example," said Bedortha. 'The rest of the team can see how they play the practice round to help them get prepared for it. They have both played the course and are comfortable there. They have a lot of good memories and hopefully they will play well and help lead us."
Junior Stephanie Kim and sophomore Kaitlen Parsons both have championship experience on the course. Kim claimed Big Sky medalist honors as a freshman, while Parsons tied for ninth last season with a solid tournament.
"If they play well and we get couple other good scores, I firmly believe we can win the championship," said Bedortha. "We will need to put four good scores up every round and they are two of the most important ones because they have the ability to shoot low scores. I am excited for them."
Jabczenski carded her collegiate best with a one-under par 71 at the Cowgirl Classic last week.
Practice Round: Saturday, April 21 6:30 a.m.
First round: Sunday, April 22 6:30 a.m.
Second round: Monday, April 23 6:30 a.m.
Final round: Tuesday, April 24 6:30 a.m.
Location: Ocotillo Golf Club, Chandler, Ariz.
Yardage: 6,162 yards. Par: 72.
Format: 54 holes
Teams Competing: Eastern Washington, Idaho State, Montana, Montana State, Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado, Portland State, Sacramento State, Weber State.
Defending Team Champion: Portland State
Defending Medalist: Britney Yada, Portland State
The Winner: The Big Sky champion will represent the league at the NCAA West Regional May 10-12 at the Colorado National Golf Club in Erie, Colo. The 19th Big Sky Conference Women's Golf Championship opens Sunday with Portland State eyeing a third consecutive title.