(Photo MSUB Athletics)

MSUB Athletics

SEASIDE, Calif. – A total of just 10 strokes separate six middle teams including Montana State University Billings after the opening round of the Cal State Monterey Bay Otter Invite on Monday at Bayonet Golf Course.

The Yellowjackets are in 12th place among the competitive field of 18 teams, after shooting a team score of 325 on the par-72, 5,890-yard course layout. “Overall I’m very proud of how the women played, and on a course this tough we just wanted them to accept the challenge and give each shot their best effort,” said MSUB assistant coach Jeff Allen. “I was proud of how they did that, and I felt like they all stayed very patient throughout the day. I’m looking for them to be even more focused and prepared for what the course gives them tomorrow.”

Junior Bailee Dexter led the Yellowjackets with a first-round score of 78, and sits in a tie for 18th place entering Day 2 of the event Tuesday. Dexter had a pair of birdies to go along with 10 pars on the day, and played the front-nine at 2-over-par 38. “Bailee had a solid round, and with some improved putting she has a chance to go even lower tomorrow,” Allen commented on the team’s leader.

Story continues below

Fellow junior Sammy Walter and senior Haley Shackelford each shot an 82 and the duo is tied for 52nd place after Day 1. Walter carded 11 pars her first time through the course, and Shackelford had the best 9-hole performance of the day for the Yellowjackets.

On the par-3, 163-yard fourth hole, Shackelford faded a five-iron onto the green in close proximity to a difficult pin. Her ball hopped twice, hit the flagstick, and settled quickly for an easy four-foot birdie putt. “That was a pretty challenging pin location, and Haley nailed it,” Allen said. “I was really proud of her and thought that she kept a great attitude all day. She stayed very level-headed, and she played hard and stayed steady.”

Thanks to a pair of birdies on the front nine, and five pars, Shackelford shot just 1-over-par 37 before making the turn.

Just one stroke behind Walter and Shackelford is sophomore Kortney McNeil, who shot an 83 on Day 1. McNeil had one birdie and eight pars her first time through the course, and is in a tie for 60th place. Shealyn Hafer completed the field for MSUB, shooting an 85 in the opening round and sitting in a tie for 71st place.

“If we can improve our putting a bit, we will be able to improve our team score,” said Allen. “The back nine is a lot tougher, because the tee shots the players have to hit on the back are a lot tighter and more demanding. They all faced adversity well, and I am looking forward to us improving tomorrow. I think all our players will improve their scores with more time and familiarity with the greens.”

Dallas Baptist University leads the team race after the first round, posting a score of 298 and holding an 8-stroke advantage over second-place Academy of Art. Five individuals are tied for the lead after shooting a 1-over-par 73, including two players each from AAU and DBU.

The ‘Jackets are in the thick of the race among several Great Northwest Athletic Conference schools at the event, as MSUB trails Western Washington University by six strokes, Saint Martin’s University by one stroke, and leads Concordia University by five strokes on the leaderboard.

The second and final round is set for 8:30 a.m. Pacific time on Tuesday morning, and live scoring will be available online through the BirdieFire link, and on the BirdieFire mobile app.

THE BUZZ: Shackelford was picked as the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Day.

CSU Monterey Bay Otter Invite
Bayonet Golf Club | Seaside, California
Round 1 Results | March 20, 2017
Team – 1. Dallas Baptist, 298; 12. MSU Billings, 325. Individual – T1. Shu-Lin Lin, Academy of Art, 73; T1. Ann Parmerter, Dallas Baptist, 73; T1. Sterling Hawkins, Academy of Art, 73; T1. Addison Mitchell, Dallas Baptist, 73; T1. Chisay Arai, Holy Names, 73; T18. Bailee Dexter, MSUB, 78; T52. Sammy Walter, MSUB, 82; T52. Haley Shackelford, MSUB, 82; T60. Kortney McNeil, MSUB, 83; T71. Shealyn Hafer, MSUB, 85.