Missionary women set pace in Spokane

Monday, Oct 1, 2012

SPOKANE — A mere two strokes separated Whitman’s top four scorers here Sunday at the Spokane Country Club as the Missionary women’s golf team grabbed a 10-stroke lead halfway through the Whitworth Invitational.

“Our ladies clearly played their most consistent round of golf to this point in the season,” Whitman coach Skip Molitor said. “To have our four counting scores within two shots of each other is rare, and indicative of our balance.”

Led by Catelyn Webber’s 5-over-par 78, Whitman’s team tally for its top four shooters was 316. Host Whitworth, which was led by first-round medalist Emily Guthrie’s 1-over-par 74, was in second place at 316, followed closely by Willamette’s 331 third-place total.

Rounding out the field were Warner Pacific 354, North Idaho College 356, Linfield 362 and the University of Puget Sound 426. Trinity Lutheran also competed but did not complete the round.

Webber, a junior from Bellevue, Wash., was followed on the Whitman scorecard by sophomore Kelly Sweeney (Enumclaw, Wash.) and freshman Alyssa Maine (Spokane), who carded identical 79s, and junior Katie Zajicek (Corvallis, Ore.), who stroked her way to an 80. Bellingham, Wash., senior Tate Head’s 81 was not needed and senior Caitlin Holland (Edgewood, Wash.), playing as an individual, scored an 86.

Webber was alone in second place individually, trailing Whitworth’s Emily Guthrie by four shots after Guthrie shot a 1-over-par 74. Sweeney and Maine were in a three-way tie for third place with Taneesh Kaur Sra of Willamette and Zajicek was tied for sixth with Scotti Jo Helmick of Warner Pacific. Head and Kalan Smith of Trinity Lutheran were knotted for eighth place.

“Catelyn was 2-over-par after 15 holes going head-to-head with Guthrie, who qualified for the NCAA Division III tournament as an individual last year,” Molitor said of Webber. “An out-of-bounds on 16 was a setback, but she still has Emily within reach for medalist honors.”

“Kelly’s round was commendable,” Molitor said of Sweeney’s 79. “She recovered from a double-bogey on the first hole to shoot seven over, with pars on 14 of the last 17 holes.”

Main’s 79 was her first sub-80 score as a collegian, Molitor noted. She also recovered from a double-bogey start, made par on 11 of her final 12 holes and shot 37 on the back nine.

Zajicek turned in a solid short game, getting up-and-down on five of eight holes and needing only 30 putts on the day. Head hit 12 greens in regulation but suffered four three-putts on what Molitor described as “bumpy greens.” And Holland recorded three birdies over her first 10 holes before running into some difficulties down the stretch.

Although Molitor was more than a little pleased with his team’s first-day showing, he didn’t believe the Missionaries’ 10-stroke advantage was insurmountable.

“Whitworth is still within striking distance, as is Willamette,” Molitor said. “Our conference is getting better each year, and whoever takes home the trophy here will have earned it.”

The tournament concluded Monday with a 9 a.m. shotgun start.