The Idaho women’s golf team put itself in a position to move up in the standings at the end of play Sept. 8 at the Colonel Wollenberg Ptarmigan Ram Classic in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Eight strokes separated the seventh place team (Nevada) and the 12th place team (Idaho) after the first two rounds of the invitational. The Vandals did move up one spot, from 12th after the first day to 11th for the final standings. Seventeen teams competed in the invitational.
“There were a lot of positives we can take from the tournament,” Idaho coach Lisa Johnson said.
Idaho senior Leilanie Kim picked up where she left off from last year finishing tied for ninth with three other players.
“Leilanie had a solid performance,” Johnson said.
Kim, who was last season’s WAC player of the year, was named Big Sky Golfer of the Week for her 2-over-par 218-stroke performance at the invitational. She entered the second and final day of the invitational in fifth, just four strokes behind the two leaders from San Diego State.
“She’s going to be in contention to win a lot of tournaments this year,” Johnson said.
Weber State’s Kaceelyn Pouttu, from Kellogg, Idaho, also earned Big Sky Golfer of the Week.
Kim said her top-10 finish in Fort Collins gives her confidence heading into the Cougar Cup later this month.
Idaho’s Kaitlyn Oster and Kristin Strankman finished tied for 32nd, Amy Hasenoehrl finished tied for 65th and Cassie McKinley finished tied for 71st at the invitational.
“We did well,” Johnson said. “We need a little bit more help from the four-five spot.”
The Vandals, who shot a three-round, 40-over-par 904, finished one stroke behind Fresno State and Colorado State.
Johnson said her team was getting out nerves in the first round and improved from round-to-round.
San Diego State entered the day in first with a nine-stroke lead over Colorado and Illinois and finished on top with a 6-over-par 870. UNLV jumped Colorado and Illinois by shooting the lowest round Tuesday, a 1-over-par 289, to finish second. The Buffaloes and the Fighting Illini finished in a tie for third.
San Diego State’s Emma Henrikson won the inivitational with a 5-under-par 211. Her teammate Sirene Blair was right on her heels finishing one stroke behind her for second place.
Idaho will be able to stay in the Palouse for its next invitational, as it plays in the Washington State Cougar Cup Sept. 22 and 23 at Palouse Ridge Golf Club in Pullman.
“Our only expectation for the Cougar Cup is to play the course like we know how to,” Johnson said.
The Vandals practice at Palouse Ridge a couple times a week and Johnson said her team will practice a little more there in preparation for the Cougar Cup.
Johnson also said that her team tends to score better at Palouse Ridge than at Idaho’s golf course.
Garrett Cabeza can be reached at email@example.com