PHOENIX — The Rocky Mountain College women are headed back to the NAIA women’s golf championships after running away with the Frontier Conference title Wednesday by 28 shots at the Papago Golf Course in Phoenix.
Rocky shot a final-round 325 to maintain its lead over Lewis-Clark State, which also shot 325. Rocky shot a three-round total of 968.
“They did a great job in Round 1, getting a big lead to start the tournament off with,” said Rocky head coach Aaron Pohle. “The conditions were tough, and we didn’t play all that well in the first round, but we played good enough to give ourselves a comfortable lead and were able to really put the pedal to the metal the last couple days.”
The Bears were led by Eryn Ellis, who finished in a tie for first at 232 with Lewis-Clark’s Marissa Louder, but Louder won in a playoff to claim medalist honors. Ellis was three shots behind with four holes to play but watched Louder bogey all four holes to pull even, before eventually falling in the playoff.
“She’s meant so much in so many different ways,” said Pohle of Ellis. “She’s been a great leader and a great student-athlete for our program. She is a little down – unfortunately, it’s the second time it’s happened to her this spring, so hopefully we can get her over the hump here soon. But I was very proud how she fought out there this entire week.”
Both players will advance to nationals, held May 14-17 at the Lincoln Park Golf Club in Oklahoma City — Louder as the individual champion and Ellis with Rocky’s full team.
2018 Frontier Conference champion Hayden Flohr finished third at 245, followed by Rocky teammates Morgan O’Neil in fourth (246) and Anna DeMars in fifth (248).
Ellis was the only Bears player to advance to the final round of last year’s NAIA championships, where the senior from Casper, Wyo. finished 31st.