Photo by Mackenzie Kasper
CHANDLER, Ariz. - Junior Kaitlen Parsons and sophomore Darian Spivey each shot one-over par 73 and four of NAU's five players shot even or below par on the back nine as the Lumberjacks totaled 299 and are in second place after the first day of the Big Sky Golf Championship in Chandler.
The Lumberjacks are nine strokes back of leader Portland State, which carded a two-over par 290 on Monday as three of its four scorers shot below par, while Sacramento State is one stroke behind NAU. The 299 total was NAU's best round at the Ocotillo golf resort this season by nine strokes.
"We were struggling early and I was pretty concerned but we hung in there and had three birdies on 18 to help save our round, so at the end of the day I thought we didn't play too bad at all" NAU head coach Brad Bedortha said. "The weather was perfect and the golf course was set up not overly difficult so for us to shoot 299 was what we had to do. We definitely have to clean up a few mistakes but we're still in good striking distance after day one."
Spivey tied her career best round as she totaled just three bogeys and had consecutive birdies on 12 and 13 for her best round this season at Ocotillo by five strokes.
"Today started out really well just trying to stay as positive as possible," Spivey said. "It was playing pretty tough because the greens were faster than we're used to but it was a lot better than the past conditions we had here. We all had our holes where we struggled but all together we played really well and hopefully tomorrow we can play just as well."
Parsons shot even par on the back nine and nearly had an eagle on 18, settling for a birdie to equal Spivey's team-best round as the two are tied for fifth on the individual leaderboard.
"I struck the ball very well today," Parsons said. "I will be spending the afternoon on the putting green but I had a lot of great shots so I'll give myself credit for that. There's still a lot of golf to play and a lot can go right or a lot can go wrong, so we just need to go out and play our best again tomorrow and see where it goes."
Senior Stephanie Kim finished just one stroke back with a 74 after she shot -1 on the back nine and ended with a birdie on 18. Sophomore Susana Mejia also shot -1 over the final nine holes after she was +8 at the turn, ending the day with a 79. Freshman Savana Bezdicek rounded out NAU's opening round with an 84.
Play resumes with round two at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow while NAU, Portland State, and Sacramento State will be the final teams to tee off starting at 8:45 a.m.
Big Sky Championship – Ocotillo Golf Resort /Chandler, Ariz. – Par 72
1. Portland State 290 +2
2. Northern Arizona 299 +11
3. Sacramento State 300 +12
T4. Eastern Washington 301 +13
T4. Weber State 301 +13
6. Northern Colorado 304 +16
7. Southern Utah 306 +18
T8. Montana 322 +34
T8. Montana State 322 +34
10. North Dakota 330 +42
11. Idaho State 347 +59
1. Britney Yada Portland State 70 -2
T2. Olivia Weber Montana 71 -1
T2. Riley Leming Portland State 71 -1
T2. A Ram Choi Portland State 71 -1
T5. Darian Spivey Northern Arizona 73 +1
T5. Kaitlen Parsons Northern Arizona 73 +1
T5. Sadie Palmer Southern Utah 73 +1
T5. Carleigh Silvers Northern Colorado 73 +1
T5. Paige Crawford Montana State 73 +1
T5. Marissa Borja Eastern Washington 73 +1
Other NAU Results
T11. Stephanie Kim 74 +2
T31. Susana Mejia 79 +7
T41. Savana Bezdicek 84 +12