(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)
OAKLAND, Calif. – Getting its 2021 spring season started on Monday at Corica Park South Course, the Montana State University Billings women’s golf team completed opening round play at the Pioneer Shootout hosted by Holy Names University.
“They were very excited to get back out there on the course,” said MSUB assistant coach Steven Falls Down. “It has been exactly a year, and this is the last tournament four of these girls played in. There was lots of excitement today.”
The Yellowjackets shot a team score of 327 on Day 1 of the tournament, and sit in seventh place. Among the field of seven teams competing, all are within 22 strokes with one round of play left in the event. “The whole team played the front well,” Falls Down said. “They were hitting the ball well, and it was just a different feeling. They had a quiet confidence, hit good iron shots, and were really good off the tees.”
Juniors Kinsey Irvin and Avery Gill were the Yellowjackets’ top performers on Monday, each shooting a score of 80 on the par-72, 5,801-yard course layout. Irvin had a consistent start to her day shooting a 2-over-par 38 on the front-nine. She saved strokes with birdies on the par-5, 451-yard sixth hole and on the par-4, 369-yard 12th hole, as she maintained her 2-over mark through the first two-thirds of her round.
Gill’s front-nine unfolded in a similar fashion, as she also made a birdie on Hole 6 before carding another on the par-4, 297-yard eighth hole. The duo of juniors are in a tie for 14th place among the field of 40 competitors.
Three strokes behind was senior Sydney Rochford, who finished her first round of the year with an 83 to sit in a tie for 27th place. Like Irvin and Gill, Rochford took advantage of the shortest par-5 hole on the course and also made a birdie on the sixth.
Junior Tierney Messmer shook off a double bogey on her third hole of the day, and made par on the next five holes on her way to a 3-over-par 39 on the front-nine. Her lone birdie on the day came on her second hole, as she made a 3 on the par-4, 327-yard second. Overall Messmer finished with a score of 84 and is in a tie for 31st place.
Freshman Jill Frye made her debut on Monday, and carded a score of 100 in her first-ever round as a Yellowjacket to sit in 39th place. Frye made a sharp improvement from the front to the back, cutting down her score by eight strokes over her final nine holes of the day.
Claire Shubin of Dominican University is the individual leader after Round 1, as she shot a 1-under-par 71 on Monday. She leads Sami Penor of Biola University by a single stroke. Dominican leads the team race with a score of 305, holding a four-stroke edge over both Biola and Academy of Art University.
“Tomorrow I hope to see us finish better,” Falls Down said. “Today you could tell we weren’t in golf shape, and got a little tired towards the end both physically and mentally. I hope to see the same start, and for us to finish the entire round.”
THE BUZZ: Gill was tabbed the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Day…she was one stroke off of her single-round best as a Yellowjacket, which she set on Sept. 17, 2019 with a 79…
COMING UP: The tournament concludes on Tuesday morning with MSUB tee times beginning at 8:22 a.m. Pacific time. Live results will be available online here. [results.golfstat.com]
Round 1 Results – March 1, 2021
Corica Park South Course – Oakland, California
Team – 1. Dominican University, 305; 7. MSU Billings, 327. Individual – 1. Claire Shubin, Dominican, 71; T14. Kinsey Irvin, MSUB, 80; T14. Avery Gill, MSUB, 80; T27. Sydney Rochford, MSUB, 83; T31. Tierney Messmer, MSUB, 84; 39. Jill Frye, MSUB, 100.