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NAU's Anokhina Shines in First Two Rounds of Spring

NAU's Sofia Anokhina
NAU's Sofia Anokhina

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – At the end of two rounds of play to begin the 2017 spring season, Northern Arizona's Sofia Anokhina finished at even-par 144 and currently leads the entire field of 84 golfers as the Lumberjack golf team carries a 36-over 612 into tomorrow's third and final round of day from the Battle at the Rock tournament.

"We had some tough spots here and there, but overall I am pleased with the way our women competed today," said head coach Brad Bedortha. "Our golfers made a great step in the right direction today and there were a lot of positive takeaways."

One of those being Anokhina. The NAU sophomore began her spring campaign on fire, recording six pars and two birdies in the first eight holes of the season. After bogeying hole-3, Anokhina closed out her opening round with nine consecutive par conversions to secure a hold on first place with a 1-under 72 scorecard.

In the afternoon's second round, more of the same. Anokhina—a second-team all-Big Sky athlete in 2016—bogeyed twice on 13 and 18 before settling herself down for a birdie conversion on 3—the only hole she bogeyed in the previous round. The native of Moscow, Russia, enters tomorrow's final 18 holes with a two-stroke lead on second place individually. 

"She's great," said Bedortha. "[Anokhina] played awesome today. Her shots where crisp and on point, and she's been really solid so far through the first 36 holes. We hope to see more of the same from her tomorrow."

Rebound performance of the day went to Kim Cifuentes, who struggled during the morning round. The senior from Gilbert, Ariz., ended the first 18 holes with five bogeys, three doubles and a triple. In the afternoon, though, Cifuentes looked more like herself in notching two birdies on 2 and 16. The all-time NAU leader in eagle putts added to that total going 2-under on 12 as well. For the day, Cifuentes finished at 17-over 161—a good turnaround considering she was 15-over 87 at the end of round one.

Statistically, the two best Lumberjack golfers today behind Anokhina were junior Kaitlyn Saum and freshman Emma Reyes. The pair logged identical first round (6-over 78) and second round (7-over 79) scores to end Monday's action at 13-over 157. The two also finished deadlocked at 39th on the individual leaderboard.

Other NAU golfers that competed today include juniors Sierra Bezdicek (15-over 159—T46th) and Carly Akine (16-over 160—T51st) as well as freshman Loren Skibba.

As mentioned above, the third and final round of the Battle at the Rock tournament will take place tomorrow, Feb. 14. The scheduled shotgun start time is 8:30 a.m. MT from the Oak Quarry Golf Club.

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