WOMEN'S GOLF WINS BIG SKY TITLE; SETS CONFERENCE RECORD FOR LOWEST SCORE
GOODYEAR, Ariz. - Sacramento State captured the 2007 Big Sky Conference Women’s Golf Championship on Wednesday, and did so in record fashion. The Hornets fired a final-round 300 to finish with a 54-hole total of 884, breaking the old mark of 886 set by Portland State in 2004.
Sacramento State shot rounds of 294 and 290 on Monday and Tuesday at the Palm Valley Golf Course in Goodyear, Ariz.
The championship is the first for Sacramento State, whose previous best finish was second in 1997.
"This is a really good team,’’ said third-year Sacramento State coach Adam Pohll. "Especially because we have five players that all have a chance to win it individually. To have Jen Parkes and Emily Longcrier shoot 73 on the final day of the conference championship, that just sets us apart.’’
All five Hornets finished in the top eight, led by medalist Margaux Sheehan. The Anchorage, Alaska, native tied the Big Sky championship record with a 54-hole total of even-par 216. Sheehan shot a final-round 76 on Wednesday, to follow her under-par rounds of 71 and 69. The 216 tied the mark first set by Northern Arizona’s Lauren Gray in 2004.
"This is surreal,’’ Sheehan said. "When I was a freshman I told my mom I was going to win the Big Sky Conference Championship. I did it. It was a struggle today with the wind. My swing was off. Just to accomplish that was huge."
Teammate Heather LeMaster tied for second at 222 with Northern Arizona freshman Bethany LeClair.
Kim Coppin of Sacramento State finished fifth at 225. Longcrier tied for sixth at 226, while Parkes tied for eighth at 227.
Northern Arizona finished second at 909, 25 shots behind the Hornets. NAU shot a final-round 298. Portland State finished third on the strength of a final-round 299.
Eastern Washington sophomore Chloe Nelson tied for fourth with a 223. She helped the Eagles to a fourth-place finish.
No player broke par Wednesday, but Nelson and LeClair, both carded 72, while, Longcrier Parkes and Danielle Ranallo of Portland State shot 73.
Sacramento State led the field with 40 birdies, including a tourney-high 10 by Sheehan.
"We played the golf course really aggressively except for the par 3s.’’ Pohll said. "We were attacking as many flags as we could. If we had the opportunity from the fairway we were attacking. We are really confident in our short game right now, and have been all year. If you take that approach on this golf course, it can work.’’
Not only did the Hornets break the conference record, the team's score crushed the previous 54-hole school record of 913 set last season at the Big Sky Championship. Sheehan also bettered her own school record of 217. LeMaster's score is third and Coppin's fourth in the school record book for 54 holes.
Sacramento State earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Regional. The Hornets will most likely be sent to St. George, Utah, May 10-12.
The championship was the fourth won by Sacramento State during the 2006-07 year. Volleyball won the Big Sky title during the fall, men's track and field won the Big Sky indoor championship, and gymnastics won the Western Athletic Conference title in the winter. The total could increase next weekend as both the men's and women's tennis teams enter the Big Sky Championship as the top seed.
2007 Big Sky Championship
Palm Valley Golf Course, Goodyear, Ariz.
Par 72, 6,165 yards
1. Sacramento State 294-290-300=884
2. Northern Arizona 311-300-298=909
3. Portland State 320-303-299=922
4. Eastern Washington 318-305-307=930
5. Montana 320-298-319=937
6. Weber State 312-308-318=938
7. Montana State 328-314-323=965
8. Idaho State 329-329-334=992
Top Five Individual
1. Margaux Sheehan, SAC, 71-69-76=216
T2. Heather LeMaster, SAC, 72-72-78=222
T2. Bethany LeClair, NAU, 72-78-72=222
4. Chloe Nelson, EWU, 77-74-72=223
5. Kim Coppin, SAC, 73-74-78=225
Sacramento State Scores
1. Margaux Sheehan 71-69-76=216
T2. Heather LeMaster 72-72-78=222
5. Kim Coppin 73-74-78=225
T6. Emily Longcrier 78-75-73=226
T8. Jennifer Parkes 79-75-73=227