Women's Golf Team Caps Spectacular Sunday for Whitman, Captures Spot at DIII Nationals & Share of NWC Crown
Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012
That's Skip Molitor, extremely proud coach, flanked by the best women's golf team in the whole NWC
With Elaine Whaley shooting Sunday's second-best score and her four teammates holding rock steady, the Whitman College women's golf team won the Northwest Conference Tournament to claim a share of the NWC title and earn a spot in the NCAA Division III national championships.
It is the first-ever conference crown and national tournament berth for the women's golf team, which has shot to the top of the NWC under fourth-year coach Skip Molitor.
The golf team's late afternoon triumph capped a spectacular day for the Whitman athletics program. Earlier in day, the women's and men's tennis teams polished off victories to earn invitations to their national championship tournaments
The Missionary women's golf team, playing at Columbia Point in Richland, Wash., carded a 312 team score in Sunday's closing round to finish the 36-hole event at 629. That was five shots better than second-place George Fox, which brought a No. 5 national ranking to the tournament.
Whaley, a sophomore, led the way on Sunday with a 4-over par 76, which was nine strokes lower than what she shot in Saturday's opening round.
Whaley started her Sunday with a birdie, made the turn in 2-over par and was even par on the back nine until a double-bogey on the final hole.
Junior Tate Head and first-year teammate Kelly Sweeney fired matching rounds of 78 on Sunday.
Head, who birdied two of her first four holes, also made the turn in 2-over par and then ended her round with a third birdie on the par-5 18th hole.
Sweeney, one under after birdies on two of the first five holes, finished the front at 1-over par. She also birdied No. 16 before losing two strokes to par on the last two holes.
Sophomore Catelyn Webber completed Sunday's team score (top four individuals) with an 80. She was steady all day with 11 pars, six of which came on the last seven holes.
Sophomore Katie Zajicek shot 82 on Sunday -- four shots lower than her Saturday round -- but her score was not needed for the team total.
After a struggle on the front side, Zajicek finished strong, playing the last seven holes in 1-over par.
Whitworth's Emily Guthrie fired a 72 in the final round to claim tournament medalist honors with a 150 total. Kelsey Morrison of George Fox was the runner-up at 151.
Whitman golfers filled the next three spots in the individual scoring: Head 155, Sweeney 156, and 157. Whaley finished eighth with a 161 total while Zajicek tied for 14th at 168.
Whitman, which was ranked as high as No. 16 in one recent national poll, was well represented on the all-conference teams announced after Sunday's final tournament round.
Based on scores from the three NWC tournaments during the year, both Head and Webber were named to the All-NWC First Team while Whaley and Sweeney made the Second Team.
Molitor was named NWC Coach of the Year.
Zajicek, Whitman's fifth player on Sunday, earned all-conference honors a year ago, when the Missionaries climbed into contention with a second-place finish in the season-long scoring.
The NCAA DIII national championships for women's golf is slated for May 8-11 at Zollner Golf Course in Angola, Ind.
CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; email@example.com