RIO VERDE, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona women's golf team shot an even-par 288 behind the play of individual leader Stephanie Kim to lead the rain-shortened Rio Verde Invitational after the first round Saturday.
"I knew we had it in us but you don't go out thinking you are going to shoot even par," said Head Coach Brad Bedortha. "The girls have been doing a great job practicing and it was good to see them rewarded for that hard work."
The 288 team score was the third-best single round score in school history.
Kim shot a season-best two-under par 70 to hold a one stroke lead over three players including teammate Savana Bezdicek, who recorded a one-under par 71.
"She played great," said Bedortha. "She kept to her game plan and did not get flustered. She got in a groove and it was fun to watch. She is our senior and one of our leaders so it was good to see her get back to where she is comfortable playing."
The 71 was the second-best round of the season for Bezdicek.
"Savana was scrappy today," said Bedortha. "She made some unbelievable par saves and I was impressed with her scrambling ability."
Junior Kaitlen Parsons was two strokes back with a season-best one-over par 73 and stands in a tie for seventh overall.
"Kaitlen played very well and had it under par for a while," said Bedortha. "She hit a lot of really good shots on some par threes. She played solid."
Sophomore Darian Spivey posted her collegiate-best round with a two-over par 74 aided by 15 pars on the day, tied for the second-best total in the field with Bezdicek.
Sophomore Laura Jabczenski finished with a seven-over par 79
Starting on the seventh hole in the shot gun start, Kim's round included six birdies and four bogeys. She started the day with back-to-back bogeys on the seventh and eighth holes before getting back to even par with birdies on the ninth and 11th holes. She bogeyed the 14th to move back to one-over par before carding four birdies over five holes. She had a bogey on her second to last hole to finish at two-under par 70, equaling her best round in two years and fourth-best single round score of her career.
"It was a slow start and I hit a couple really good approach shots that almost were eagles," said Kim. "So I had some tap-in birdies and my putting was a lot better than last week so that helped a lot too."
The Lumberjacks hold a seven-stroke lead over Eastern Michigan and lead Ball State and Toledo by 12 strokes.
The second and final round will be contested on Sunday starting with an 8 a.m. shot gun start. The tournament was shortened to 36 holes after rain forced the cancellation of the first round on Friday.
"We were all really excited when we got back to the clubhouse," said Kim. "We are looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully we can do the same."
Kim will be playing for her fourth collegiate tournament title and first since 2010.
Rio Verde Invitational
White Wing Golf Course
Rio Verde, Ariz.
1. Northern Arizona 288 E
2. Eastern Michigan 295 +7
T3. Ball State 300 +12
T3. Toledo 300 +12
T5. Bowling Green State 303 +15
T5. Wichita State 303 +15
7. Xavier 304 +16
T8. Arkansas-Little Rock 305 +17
T8. Missouri State 305 +17
10. Western Michigan 306 +18
11. Northern Illinois 307 +19
12. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 308 +20
13. UMKC 310 +22
14. Montana 312 +24
15. Bradley 314 +26
16. Ohio 318 +30
17. Akron 321 +33
Individual Results (Top 10)
1. Stephanie Kim, Northern Arizona 70 -2
T2. Meredith Fairbairn, Eastern Michigan 71 -1
T2. Hollie Weatherburn, Wichita State 71 -1
T2. Savana Bezdicek, Northern Arizona 71 -1
T5. Emma Clegg, Missouri State 72 E
T5. Shelby Wilson, Bowling Green State 72 E
T7. Kaitlen Parsons, Northern Arizona 73 +1
T7. Emelie Westrup, Arkansas-Little Rock 73 +1
T7. Sarah Johnson, Eastern Michigan 73 +1
T7. Sathika Ruenreong, Toledo 73 +1
Other NAU Scores
T11. Darian Spivey 74
T56. Laura Jabczenski 79
All-Time Team Lows - Single Round
285 Grand Canyon Invitational (9/28/09)
287 Lumberjack Shootout @ Wigwam (3/14/11)
288 Rio Verde Invitational (3/9/13)