Photo by Mackenzie Kasper, Big Sky Conference
CHANDLER, Ariz. – Junior Stephanie Kim shot a season-best even par 72 to lead the Northern Arizona women's golf team to a third-place finish after the first round of the 2012 Big Sky Conference Championship at the Ocotillo Golf Resort Sunday.
"It feels really good," said Kim following the round. "I was pretty confident going into today's round. It was really hard to be focused out there. I usually don't get nervous for tournaments but today I did. It actually felt good because I had not felt that way in a long time."
Kim birdied two of the first three holes to card a one-under par 35 on the front nine. She opened the back nine with a birdie on the 356-yard 10th hole. She posted bogeys on 11th, 15th and 16 holes to fall to one-over par for the day. But the Tempe, Ariz., native birdied the final hole to finish with at even par 72.
"It was fun to finish strong and I fought the whole time," said Kim.
Kim is in a three-way tie for fifth with Lexie Hall of Sacramento State and Hannah McNeley of Northern Colorado.
The Lumberjacks are third overall in the team standings, eight strokes back of Northern Colorado. The Bears posted a two-over par 290 in the opening round, setting a new school record and recording the fourth-best single-round score in tournament history. Sacramento State is six strokes back with a 296, two ahead of NAU.
"I could not have asked for a better start for us," said Head Coach Brad Bedortha. "They handled it very well and played a solid round of gold. I was very happy with how they did. To be in the position we are is perfect. It was great to have a good day."
Freshman Laura Jabczenski carded a one-over 73 in the first round, finishing the first day in eighth place.
"I hit the ball solid and tried to focus on the hole-by-hole instead of the final score," said Jabczenski. "It seemed to help a lot. It is cool being here and being part of all the excitement. Everyone is really proud of each other and how we played. We are looking to stay focused and keep playing well."
Sophomore Kaitlen Parsons is two strokes back with a 75, tying for 13th place overall.
Kelsey Chugg of Weber State leads the tournament after a two-under 70, one better than Chelsea and Carleigh Silvers of Northern Colorado and Lauren Howell of Montana, who posted one-under par 71.
"I am so proud of all my girls," said Kim. We worked hard all season long. We had some bad tournaments but it was a good learning curve."
The second round will be contested on Monday morning starting at 6:30 a.m. The Lumberjacks are in the final five groups Monday starting at 8 a.m., playing with Northern Colorado and Sacramento State.
1. Northern Colorado 290 +2
2. Sacramento State 296 +8
3. Northern Arizona 298 +10
4. Montana 303 +15
5. Weber State 306 +18
6. Montana State 311 +23
7. Portland State 312 +24
8. Eastern Washington 314 +26
9. Idaho State 334 +46
T5. Stephanie Kim72
8. Laura Jabczenski 73
T13. Kaitlen Parsons 75
T22. Melissa Olson 78
T22. Susana Mejia 78