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Golf Surges into First Place Tie at Big Sky Championship

VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH KAITLEN PARSONS

CHANDLER, Ariz. – Led by a one-under par round of 71 by junior Kaitlen Parsons the NAU women's golf team made up nine strokes on Portland State to tie the Vikings atop the leaderboard with a two-day total of 592 heading into the final round at the Big Sky Golf Championship.

The Lumberjacks shot a five-over par 293 on Monday, their third-best Big Sky Championship round all-time, and led by as many as three strokes on the back nine before the Vikings came back to draw even with NAU at the end of the second round. The teams have a seven-stroke lead over Northern Colorado with Sacramento State nine strokes behind in fourth place.

"They played great and I was just really proud of the effort," NAU head coach Brad Bedortha said. "We didn't play bad yesterday but we played much better today and I'm really excited to continue watching them play. If we compete like that, I can't complain win or lose."

NAU's five golfers did not have a single hole in which they scored worse than a bogey on Monday. Parsons only had one bogey and had two birdies on the front nine as she recorded her 11th career round at even or below par. She moved to even par for the tournament and up to fourth place on the individual leaderboard after it took her group five hours to complete play after the course got backed up.

"I was on the putting green a lot yesterday and when I was out there I felt like it did help," Parsons said. "I'm swinging it well and hopefully I can go lower tomorrow. We had a good day today as a team and hopefully we can carry it over to tomorrow and pull a win."

Senior Stephanie Kim followed her 74 on Sunday with a one-over par 73 as she moved into a tie for ninth overall at +3 for the week. Sophomore Darian Spivey was again solid on Monday as she overcame three straight bogeys to end the front nine to finish at 74 for the day and also is tied for ninth, while freshman Savana Bezdicek rebounded from an 84 in the opening round to shoot 75 on Tuesday.

"My tempo was way better (today) and I drank a lot more water," said Bezdicek, competing in her first Big Sky Championship. "I didn't know it would be this intense for a team atmosphere because I've never had such an intense team competition for golf. We'll see how it goes tomorrow - it will be interesting."

Sophomore Susana Mejia rounded out the Lumberjack competitors with a 78, one stroke better than she shot on Sunday as she was even par over her last eight holes. NAU will be playing for its seventh all-time Big Sky Championship and its first since 2009 when it takes to the course, paired with Portland State and Sacramento State, for Tuesday's final round starting at 8:45 a.m.

"We've been close a few times but just haven't been able to close the deal so I'm just hoping we can do that tomorrow," Bedortha said. "I just want us to go play our best golf and if it's good enough, it's good enough."

Big Sky Championship - Ocotillo Golf Resort /Chandler, Ariz. - Par 72

Team Standings

T1. Northern Arizona 299 293 592 +16

T1. Portland State 290 302 592 +16

3. Northern Colorado 304 295 599 +23

4. Sacramento State 300 301 601 +25

5. Southern Utah 306 299 605 +29

6. Weber State 301 310 611 +35

7. Eastern Washington 301 312 613 +37

T8. Montana State 322 307 629 +53

T8. Montana 322 307 629 +53

10. North Dakota 330 332 662 +86

11. Idaho State 347 332 679 +103

Individual Standings

1. Paige Crawford Montana State 73 68 141 -3

2. Carleigh Silvers Northern Colorado 73 69 142 -2

3. Britney Yada Portland State 70 73 143 -1

4. Kaitlen Parsons Northern Arizona 73 71 144 E

5. Olivia Weber Montana 71 74 145 +1

T6. Kelsey Chugg Weber State 75 71 146 +2

T6. Kercia Brakel Sacramento State 75 71 146 +2

T6. A Ram Choi Portland State 71 75 146 +2

T9. Stephanie Kim Northern Arizona 74 73 147 +3

T9. Darian Spivey Northern Arizona 73 74 147 +3

T9. Sadie Palmer Southern Utah 73 74 147 +3

Other NAU Results

T29. Susana Mejia 79 78 157 +13

T34. Savana Bezdicek 84 75 159 +15