Individual Play Highlights NAU's Final Round From Cowgirl Desert Intercollegiate

Individual Play Highlights NAU's Final Round From Cowgirl Desert Intercollegiate

PALM DESERT, Calif. – The Lumberjacks registered an even 300 score in the final round of the 2016 Cowgirl Desert Intercollegiate Sunday morning, going 12-over-par to finish the weekend tournament with a sixth-place finish and a final tally of 50-over 914.

"Going back to yesterday, I was happy with the way we bounced back in the afternoon, and I think it gave some of our players momentum heading into today's round," said Head Coach Brad Bedortha.

"However, it is frustrating when you have players at the division I level shooting 85 and two 80's the first round of a tournament. Today, we had to count an 82 to our team score and that is unacceptable. We just can't afford to have a round like that when our top-three go 2-over-par. That won't happen again, and we will figure it out."

The Lumberjacks were once again backed by some stellar play from Kaitlyn Saum, Kim Cifuentes and Sofia Anokhina—a trio that is really in a groove since the second round of the Rose City Collegiate. In fact, since that second round from Aurora, Ore., last Monday, all three have combined for nine sub-75 rounds and only two rounds of plus-80.

Saum continues to ride a fall hot streak, as she turned in her second 1-under 71 score of the season to finish the tournament at 1-over 217 and in fourth place on the individual leaderboard. In her last five rounds, Saum has logged scores of 71, 74, 73, 73 and 71—by far the best stretch in her three-year NAU golf career.

"At the end of the day, [Saum] had a great tournament," said Bedortha. "She played beautifully the whole time, was very much in control of her golf game and really did a great job. It was fun to watch her play and compete. With all the hard work she has put in, it was awesome to see her get rewarded for that." 

Cifuentes moved up four spots on the individual leaderboard today—tying for 23rd place—after going 2-over 74 Sunday and 13-over 229 for the tournament. Like she did yesterday during the second round, Cifuentes took advantage of some great play on the back nine, penciling in a 1-under 35 mark for the second-straight round after going 5-over on the same nine-hole stretch to begin the Cowgirl Desert Intercollegiate.

Like Cifuentes, Anokhina ended Sunday improving her individual placement by four spots, sliding up the leaderboard for a 30th-place finish (14-over 230). Matching par on 16 of the 18 holes today, Anokhina was able to secure a 1-over 73 mark in the final round of action Sunday. 

"Anokhina really struggled in the first round but rebounded nicely in the afternoon yesterday," said Bedortha. "She played great today as well. Same thing with [Cifuentes]: struggled in the first round but came back and played two great rounds for us to close out the tournament."

Freshman Loren Skibba (24-over 240—T. 48th) and junior Sierra Bezdicek (39-over 255—66th) finished out their tournaments today, while junior Carly Akine (12-over 228—T. 22nd) and freshman Emma Reyes (37-over 253—63rd) also rounded out their tournament scorecards as individual competitors.

The Lumberjacks will close out their fall slate of tournaments three weeks from today at the Palmetto Intercollegiate in Kiawah Island, S.C., Oct. 23-25.