Vandals take third in Las Cruces
The Idaho Vandals women’s golf team took third place at the Price’s Give ‘Em Five Intercollegiate this week in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
The University Golf Course, hosted by New Mexico State, fielded 13 teams from Monday to Wednesday. The Vandals played on a course that offered up birdie opportunities to those who could take advantage of the par 5’s.
“The par 5’s are very short. Most of them are reachable in 2, and the par 3’s are very score-able as well,” Idaho women’s golf coach Lisa Johnson said. “The most difficult part of this golf course is the par 4’s. So the players on are team that played the best, Kaitlyn (Oster) and Rachel (Choi) played the par 4’s extremely well and then scored on the par 5’s.”
The Vandals came out and played the first round on Monday at a combined two over par, which was good enough to lead the field going into the following day by four strokes over Kansas.
Leading the way for the Vandals on Monday was sophomore Leilanie Kim with a round of one under par. Kim’s teammates were all within three strokes of her score, helping to ensure their first place standing. Scoring her worst round of the week on Monday was Oster with a round of 73, but it would be the only round over par for her for the rest of the week.
“Actually her first round she wasn’t very happy with because she made a lot of bogies and a lot of birdies,” Johnson said. “Most of her bogies were three-putts, that’s not typical as she had three three putts in that first round.”
Oster bounced back after her first round and scored a 71 on Tuesday, followed by a 72 on Wednesday. Oster’s tournament score of even par was good enough to claim second place, as she just couldn’t keep up with Kansas’ Yupaporn Kawinpakorn, whose opening round of 69 was too much to overcome.
The Vandals as a team were also unable to end the week in first place. After their opening round 290, the Vandals posted a 297 on Tuesday and a 296 on Wednesday. That left the door open for Kansas and Washington to jump past them. The Vandals would finish in third place at 19 over par, 12 strokes behind the Jayhawks.
The Vandals finished the tournament with three golfers in the top 20. Choi went from being tied for 11th going into the final day to finishing in a tie for 5th after going one under and finishing at two over par for the tournament. Kim finished in a tie for 18th at seven over par.
Rounding out the tournament for the Vandals was freshman Cassie McKinley in a tie for 36th and freshman Kristin Strankman in a tie for 58th.
The Vandals are back on the links on Oct. 21 for the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown.
Johnson knows what the team will be working on until then.
“We need to get better at putting,” Johnson said. “We’ll spend a lot of time hitting balls, and then we are gearing up our for our Vandal Cup, which is similar to a Ryder Cup format — it’s something fun for the team do to next week.”
Jacob Dyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org