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Women's Golf Championship Preview
SMU's Jennifer Liedes has won GNAC Golfer of the Week honors five times during the 2014-15 season.
SMU's Jennifer Liedes has won GNAC Golfer of the Week honors five times during the 2014-15 season.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Admission is free to the 2015 Women’s Golf Championship Presented by the Coeur d’Alene Resort. Parents and spectators will be allowed to rent golf carts from the Coeur d'Alene Resort for $20 per day if spectators wish to follow golfers. Live stats are also available in the 'Related Links' section on the right-side of the page.

PORTLAND, Ore. – After playing in 21 invitationals and tournaments in the 2014-15 regular-season, the five GNAC women’s golf teams are ready for the 2015 Women’s Golf Championship Presented by the Coeur d’Alene Resort.

The championship begins Monday at 8:50 a.m. as the 24 golfers play 36 holes in the two-day tournament.

The Western Washington Vikings are looking for their fifth-straight GNAC tournament title, all at the par 71 Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course.

The Vikings, who are 39th in the latest Division II Golfstat rankings, have dominated their competition at this event the past four years. WWU has won all four titles by at least 19 strokes (and as much as 46) while having a golfer win the individual title all four years.

Last season, the Vikings claimed the first three spots on the individual leader board with Anna Bourland taking the title after two rounds carding 78 (+14). Brooke Branigan was second at 159 while Kristen Hansen, the GNAC Golfer of the Year in 2014, finished third at 160.

The WWU trio is back at the resort course this season. Viking freshman Jenn Paul led this group in the regular-season, averaging a GNAC-low 76.2 strokes per round. Audrey Orem, who tied for ninth-place last year, also brings a GNAC top-10 average score into the competition.

Paul is one of two conference players to be ranked in the top 100 Division II golfers heading into the tournament; the other being Saint Martin’s Jennifer Liedes.

These two golfers have combined for nine of the 14 GNAC Golfer of the Week awards while being two of only four conference golfers to be averaging under 80 strokes per round. Liedes and Paul have also placed in the top-five in five tournaments this season.

Saint Martin’s and Montana State Billings have fought between second and third place at the championship the last four years. This year, the two teams scoring average is just two strokes apart which rank second and third in the GNAC.

Montana State Billings, which finished second as a team last year, is the only other team in the conference besides WWU to have more than three golfers average less than 83.4 strokes per round.

The Yellowjackets top golfer at the championship, statistically, will be freshman Sammy Walter. She was the GNAC Golfer of the Week the first part of April after being the top MSUB finisher at the Yellowjacket Spring Invite and Western New Mexico Invitational.

Senior captain Mariah Cleveland also has two top-10 finishes for the Yellowjackets while Haley Shackelford is one of just three GNAC golfers to win an invitational this season.

SMU’s Liedes and Northwest Nazarene’s Samantha Miller are the other two tournament winners.

Saint Martin’s has four golfers returning to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho this year, including Liedes. The Saints Sarah Salvatori has two top-10 finishes to her name while shooting a career-low 74 at the Dennis Rose Invitational. Tacoma natives Gracie Dyer and Lisa Zelasko have also shot low-rounds of 77 this year while averaging just over 84 strokes per round.

NNU’s Miller and Simon Fraser’s Breanna Croxen have been the scoring leaders for their teams this season.  Miller won the NNU Invitational just a few weeks ago while Croxen has one of the two Clan top-five finishes on the year.

The Crusaders Haley Gochnour has NNU’s other top-five finish, averaging 83.5 strokes per round. Carleigh Sturm, Jessica Knight and Brittney Paterson all have experience at the championship as well.

Simon Fraser ended with a fourth-place finish in last year’s championship with three top 12 finishes. The highest of which was Erin Farner, whose 79 in the first round tied for the second lowest score in the tournament. Mackenzie Field leads the Clan with two top-10 finishes at events this season and will look to improve on her 14th-place finish a year ago. 

GNAC TOP 100 GOLFERS (Golfstat) - 41. Jenn Paul, WWU (76.24); T57. Jennifer Liedes, SMU (76.63).

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