(Editor’s Note: Story by Griz Communications)
MISSOULA – The Montana women’s golf team shot its best round of the fall season on Tuesday, carding a 301 as the two-day Challenge at Coeur d’Alene Resort came to a finish in northern Idaho.
Led by freshman Allison Sobol, who closed with a 2-over 74, the Grizzlies’ top seven golfers matched or improved upon their scores from Monday’s opening round, when Montana came in with a 317.
Even with the strong finish, the Grizzlies placed third out of four teams. Eastern Washington easily won the team title after shooting scores of 296 and 297. Montana State (309-301) finished second.
“No one likes finishing third, but the fact we were 16 shots better than yesterday tells me we’re going in the direction we want to go,” said coach Kris Nord.
“Across the board, everyone improved, and everyone feels better about it. It gives us a little momentum going into the Wyoming (Cowgirl Intercollegiate).”
Sobol opened with a 78 on Monday and was even better on Tuesday, setting herself up hole after hole for birdie chances and short par putts.
She tied for fifth at 8-over, five off the winning score of Eastern Washington’s Alexa Clark (71-76) and Kirsten Ishikawa (76-71).
“She was absolutely spot-on with her irons and had a ton of birdie opportunities. If she had had a hot putter, she could have shot a 68 or 69,” said Nord.
“She kept putting herself in position for birdies all day long and had a lot of makeable putts inside of 10 feet, so it was a real solid 74.”
For the second time in two fall tournaments, Montana’s top three finishers were all freshmen. Kylie Esh (78-75) tied for ninth. Brooklyn Van Bebber (77-77), playing as an individual, finished alone in 11th.
Junior Teigan Avery (79-78) posted a pair of sub-80 rounds, senior Baylee Barckley rebounded from Monday’s 82 to shoot a 76 and move up to 15th in the final standings. Sophomore Faith D’Ortenzio had an eight-stroke improvement, from 84 to 76.
“We left a few out there, but all in all we were much better,” said Nord, whose team will next play at Wyoming’s tournament in Palm Desert, Calif., starting a week from Saturday.
“I’m excited that Baylee did better. Teigan survived one tough hole and posted a good score. The three freshmen were solid, and Faith improved. Across the board everyone improved.”
Clark, who won last week’s Battle at Old Works, and Ishikawa shared medalist honors. Their teammate Madalyn Ardueser and Montana State’s Kelly Hooper finished two strokes back.
Sobol was one of four players to tie for fifth at 8-over.