(MSUB Athletics release)
GOODYEAR, Ariz. – Continuing her spring-long streak of sub-80 rounds, Montana State University Billings women’s golf senior Bailee Dexter led her team in the final round of the Western New Mexico University Mustang Invitational on Tuesday at Palm Valley Golf Club.
The Yellowjackets finished the event with a team score of 320 on Tuesday, and wound up in 18th place with a two-round total of 637 on the par-72, 5,900-yard course layout. “Today we got off to a difficult start, but played better as the round progressed,” said MSUB head coach Kevin Woodin. “I was disappointed that we didn’t score better than yesterday as a team, but today was respectable. The pins were much more difficult today, and the weather was excellent again.”
Dexter led her team in scoring for the second straight day, finishing the tournament in a tie for 48th place with a two-round total of 154 (76-78). The senior had a pair of birdies in Round 2, and had nothing worse than a bogey on her scorecard for the second day in-a-row.
Both of Dexter’s birdies came on par-3 holes, and came at the hands of excellent iron shots out of the tee boxes. On the par-3, 136-yard seventh hole, Dexter planted an 8-iron to six inches from the cup for an easy tap-in. Her fifth hole of the day was the par-3, 120-yard 17th, on which she stuck a 9-iron to three feet. Overall she landed eight greens in regulation, hit 12 of 14 fairways, and finished with 32 putts.
Matching Dexter on Tuesday was junior Shealyn Hafer, who had a nice finish to her tournament with a 78. Hafer cut off four strokes between rounds, and wound up in a tie for 72nd place overall with a total of 160 (82-78). Like Dexter, Hafer finished with a pair of birdies on Tuesday as she saved strokes on the par-5 fifth hole and the par-4 12th hole.
On the 455-yard, par-5 fifth hole, Hafer went with a gap wedge on her 80-yard third shot, and set herself up with an easy four-foot birdie putt. The par-4, 380-yard 12th hole was her third-to-last on the day, and she overcame a lackluster drive with a 170-yard 5-hybrid that she landed three feet from the cup. Hafer hit seven greens, matched Dexter with a dozen fairways, and also had 32 putts on Tuesday.
Also in a tie for 72nd overall was senior Sammy Walter, who carded a 79 on Tuesday to improve by two strokes and finish with a 160 (81-79). Walter had just one hole worse than a bogey, and countered that with a pair of birdies on the day with a 4 on the par-5 11th hole and a 3 on the par-4 eighth hole.
Walter’s first stroke saved was on the par-4, 355-yard eighth hole, where her 140-yard approach shot landed just off the green on the fringe. She followed with a solid 12-foot putt that fell for the birdie. Three holes later, Walter did it again as she used two good shots out of the tee box on the 425-yard 11th hole to set up a short chip. All that was left after that was a seven-foot putt for birdie.
Freshman Renae Heisler saw the most drastic improvement between rounds, as she finished 14 strokes better on Tuesday than she did on Monday. Heisler carded an 85 her second time through the course, and ramped up her game with 11 pars after just two in Round 1.
“Renae struggled with her ball striking, but we worked on it individually last night after her first round,” Woodin said. “I was proud of her improvement today. She had 11 one-putts today, so her short game saved her a lot of strokes.”
Finishing the team scoring for the ‘Jackets was junior Sarah Schroefel, who wrapped up play with a score of 86 on Tuesday. Schroefel was consistent, with just one score worse than bogey on her card for the second day in-a-row. Overall she took 87th place with a two-round total of 164 (78-86).
Tying for first place at the event were Evelyn Arguelles of Dallas Baptist University and Jocelyn Chee Yi Min of California Baptist, who each carried a two-round total of 140. After a playoff, Arguelles emerged as the individual medalist.
Dallas Baptist held onto the team title, as four of its five golfers finished in the top five to post a two-round total of 564 (282-282).
MSUB’s Great Northwest Athletic Conference opponents in the event included Concordia University (10th, 606), Western Washington University (12th, 614), and Saint Martin’s University (17th, 635).
“We really need to tighten up our short game over the next couple of weeks, to get ready for the GNAC Championships,” said Woodin. “Today we had 13 three-putts, which is too many as a team. We had six birdies and six others, which was an improvement from the day before. I think we have the potential to get four scores in the 70s on a given day, and that’s what we will continue to strive for.”
THE BUZZ: Heisler was selected as the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Day.
NEXT UP: The ‘Jackets are scheduled to host their spring invitational, on April 16-17 at Lake Hills Golf Club in Billings. It will be MSUB’s final event before the GNAC Championships, set for April 23-24 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Western New Mexico University Mustang Invitational
Final Results | April 10, 2018
Palm Valley Golf Club | Goodyear, AZ
Team – 1. Dallas Baptist, 564 (282-282); 18. MSU Billings, 637 (317-320). Individual – 1. ; T48. Bailee Dexter, MSUB, 154 (76-78); T72. Shealyn Hafer, MSUB, 160 (82-78); T72. Sammy Walter, MSUB, 160 (81-79); T87. Sarah Schroefel, MSUB, 164 (78-86); 102. Renae Heisler, MSUB, 183 (98-85).