(Editor’s note: University of Montana media release)
MISSOULA – The Montana women’s golf team shot a final-round 309 but remained in seventh place in the final team standings as the Battle at Old Works in Anaconda came to a close on Tuesday. The Grizzlies entered the day in seventh after posting rounds of 317 and 323 on Monday, but they were unable to move up the standings on a day when all eight teams used the cool, calm conditions to shoot their best round of the tournament.
“We played a lot better golf today in better conditions,” said coach Kris Nord. “It was nice to finish on a better note after a tough day for us yesterday.”
After shooting rounds of 88 and 89 on Monday, junior Teigan Avery came through with a 75 on Tuesday, the team’s best round of the tournament. With senior Baylee Barckley, who played rounds of 76, 82 and 85, trending the other direction over three rounds, it opened the door for freshmen to come in as the team’s top three finishers.
Kylie Esh (78-79-76–233) played three rounds in the 70s and tied for 13th. Brooklyn Van Bebber (84-80-77–241) tied for 29th, and Allison Sobol (79-82-81–242) tied for 32nd. “I’m really encouraged by our freshmen. They are kids who are ready to contribute right away,” said Nord. “Now we need our senior and junior to play really well.”
After opening with a 78 and 79 on Monday, Esh was steady after bogeying two of her first four holes on Tuesday. She recorded par on 12 straight holes before double-bogeying the par-5 11th, her second-to-last hole. “There were a lot of putts I left short that were right in the heart, a lot of birdie putts, so I had a long stretch of pars, but pars are good,” she said. “They aren’t bogeys or doubles.
“Overall I was real happy with how the tournament went, considering it was my first collegiate tournament. I was really nervous, especially with the 36 we played on Monday, but I’m happy with how I did.”
The story of the final round was Avery, who was 1-under through six and 1-over through 16 before closing bogey-bogey. That did little to take the shine off a huge bounce-back after Monday’s 88-89. “Yesterday was pretty rough,” she said. “I shot my two worst rounds of college golf. It was difficult, because I felt fine. I was making good strokes. I just wasn’t scoring at all. “Today I came out and focused on keeping my routine and doing everything I know I have to do to play good golf and turned it around big time. I finished with two bogeys, so it could have been better, but I played really solid golf the whole day.”
Barckley finished in 34th place, one year after winning the tournament, and sophomore Faith D’Ortenzio, who was competing as an individual, came in 37th after answering Monday morning’s 88 with rounds of 79 and 78.
Eastern Washington (312-301-295) and North Dakota State (309-307-292) were tied atop the leaderboard after three rounds were complete. The Eagles were awarded the tournament trophy after defeating the Bison in a one-hole playoff.
Montana State (319-316-297) rounded out the top three.
Eastern Washington sophomore Alexa Clark (75-71-73) won the individual title by four strokes over Gonzaga’s Quynn Duong and NDSU’s Emma Groom.
Montana will face a quick turnaround, playing its second tournament of the fall next Monday and Tuesday, the Challenge at Coeur d’Alene Resort. “If we putt a little better and manage the course a little better next week, I think we can be right in the mix,” said Nord. “We have some work to do, but I like our prospects.”