(EDITOR’S NOTE: UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA MEDIA RELEASE)
MISSOULA – The Montana women’s golf team shot a final-round 297 on Sunday and finished seventh at the Big Sky Conference Championship. The three-day tournament was held at the Boulder Creek Golf Club in Boulder City, Nev.
Sunday’s total matched the Grizzlies’ second-best score in their 25-year history of Big Sky Championship appearances. It was just the eighth time in 75 rounds they’ve shot better than 300 at the tournament.
“We had a better day today, and we came close to having a score in the low 290s,” said first-year coach Kris Nord. “We gave a few away at the end, but overall I was really happy with how we competed. I feel good about the final result.”
Hailey Hoagland, who played the back nine at 2-under, finished her collegiate career with a round to remember, shooting a 1-under 71 to move into a tie for 15th in the individual standings, the best finish of her career at the Big Sky Championship.
With rounds of 75, 78 and 71, she ends her year with a stroke average of 75.8 to become just the second player in program history to play a season better than 76.
“She had a good day, and it could have been lower. Her putter wasn’t that hot, but she played well all weekend. It was fun to watch,” said Nord.
Teigan Avery, who shot a 74 on Sunday, and Baylee Barckley, who carded a 75, both finished in the top 20 as well.
Avery had three birdies over the final seven holes. Barckley was sitting at 2-under through 14 but gave away five strokes over the final four holes, with a bogey and two doubles.
It was the second career top-20 finish for Barckley at the Big Sky Championship. She tied for fifth as a freshman in 2016.
Kari Opatz, who shot a 77 on Sunday, her best round of the tournament, tied for 40th. Faith D’Ortenzio tied for 51st.
After losing the title in a playoff to Sacramento State last spring, Idaho made sure there would be no extra golf this year, shooting rounds of 296, 287 and 283 to win by 10 over the Hornets and win the championship for the second time in three years.
Portland State came in third, finishing three strokes behind Sacramento State.
Montana, which had its fourth-best three-round tournament score in program history, came in three shots behind sixth-place Southern Utah and finished eight up on eighth-place Montana State.
It was the Grizzlies’ best finish since coming in fifth in 2015.
Idaho’s Sophie Hausmann, named the Big Sky Player of the Year on Thursday, won the individual title by four strokes over teammate Michelle Kim. Hausmann shot rounds of 73, 65 and 68 to finish 10-under and set a new scoring record with a three-round score of 206.
The tournament marks the end of the season for the Grizzlies, who lost their coach last August, played for Nord in the fall while he served as interim coach, then played for Nord in the spring in his new full-time position.
“It was a learning experience for me as well as the gals as we got accustomed to each other, but like I told them this morning, I was real pleased with how they approached practice and travel and all the little bumps we had along the way,” said Nord. “Nobody complained. They just worked hard.”