MOLALLA, Ore. – Montana’s Kylie Esh closed with a final-round 72 on Wednesday to finish in a tie for fifth place at the 2021 Big Sky Conference women's golf championship at Arrowhead Golf Club in Molalla, Ore.
Esh, who earned all-Big Sky Conference tournament honors for her top-five finish, becomes the Grizzlies’ first top-10 performer since Baylee Barckley tied for fifth in 2016.
“It’s such an amazing feeling, especially being out for so long because of my cancer,” she said in a UM media release. “I basically took six months off of golf, then started back up in January.
“I didn’t really have any expectations going into the season, so to finish in the top five gives me a lot of hope for a win next year. That would be really exciting.”
As a team, Montana finished with 958 total strokes to place ninth, just ahead of 10th-place Montana State. The Bobcats carded 973 strokes over the three-day tournament.
Sacramento State (901) won the tournament by eight strokes over Northern Arizona (909). With the win, the Hornets earn the Big Sky's automatic berth to the NCAA Regionals. Selections for the 2021 NCAA Regional Championships will be announced April 28 on the Golf Channel.
Sac State’s Tess Blair shot rounds of 74, 69 and 72 for a total of 215 to finish 1-under par for the tournament and claim individual medalist honors. Three players finished 7-over, and Esh was one of three players at 8-over.
Kameryn Basye was the top Bobcat finisher, as she carded a three-round total of 242 strokes to finish tied for 34th.
2021 Big Sky Conference women’s golf all-tournament team
Tess Blair, Sacramento State
Laura Gerner, Idaho
Franca Polla, Portland State
Ekaterina Malakhova, Northern Arizona
Kylie Esh, Montana
Klara Kucharova, Northern Arizona
Sydeny Smith, Sacramento State
Individual Champion: Tess Blair, Sacramento State
Team Champion: Sacramento State Hornets