STORY BY MONTANA SPORTS INFORMATION
CHANDLER, AZ – The Montana golf team shot a closing-round 304 on Thursday and finished the three-day Portland State/Eastern Washington Invitational at the Ocotillo Golf Resort in Chandler, Ariz., tied for fourth.
The Grizzlies began the final 18 holes in sixth place out of six teams after opening the tournament with scores of 314 and 307.
“We were shooting for a top-three finish, but we got better each day,” said coach Kris Nord. “It was a positive to keep dropping our score and to beat (Montana State).
“We’re going in the right direction. Now I want them to set the bar a little bit higher with conference coming up, because we’re better than we’re scoring.”
Hailey Hoagland (79-75-75–229) was Montana’s top finisher, closing with her second consecutive 75 to end up in 13th place. Hoagland was even-par for 17 holes on Thursday, but took a triple-bogey on the par-3 7th.
“Hailey had a really good round today,” said Nord. “She had a bad break on a par 3 that cost her two or three strokes, otherwise she was going to go low again.”
Teigan Avery (77-76-77–230) tied for 14th, Baylee Barckley (78-77-76–231) tied for 17th, while Kari Opatz (82-79-76–237) and Faith D’Ortenzio (80-79-78–237) tied for 27th.
“We had fewer bad holes today, which was good,” said Nord. “If we can eliminate a couple more, we’ll be in good shape.”
Competing as an individual, Abby Pfeifer (81-83-79–243) played her first collegiate round in the 70s on Thursday, carding a 79. Caylyn Villatora (82-82-83–247) finished 34th.
Portland State (287-293-290) won the tournament, edging out runner-up Seattle (309-306-295) by 40 strokes.
The Vikings took the top four individual spots, with Tara Finigan (72-69-74–215) earning medalist honors.
Montana will take a day off from golf on Friday, then begin preparations for the Wyoming Cowgirl Classic, which will be played at the Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club in Maricopa.
Teams will play a practice round on Sunday. The tournament, with a deep field of 20 teams, will feature 36 holes on Monday, 18 on Tuesday.
“It’s going to be nice not to have to pack up from this tournament and rush to the airport and travel home,” said Nord. “The players can take a down day, which they need, then get excited about Southern Dunes.
“The field for that tournament is really solid. I’m excited to see how we handle the course and the competition.”