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GNAC Championships Approach As Golfers Swing Into Form
Haley Gochnour led Northwest Nazarene at their own NNU Invitational, placing fourth with a score of 163.
Haley Gochnour led Northwest Nazarene at their own NNU Invitational, placing fourth with a score of 163.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. – As the GNAC Championships come up in less than a month, Western Washington is positioning itself for a shot at its sixth consecutive women’s team title.

With back-to-back second place finishes, the Vikings lead the GNAC in average round score at 306.07. In seven tournaments this season, the Vikings have finished in the top-five in six. Sophomore Jenn Paul paces the conference with an average round score of 75. She led Western Washington to its second straight second place finish at the Otter Invitational in Seaside, Calif. on Mar. 21 and 22. Paul tied individually for fourth place with a two-round score of 9-over par 153. As a team, Western Washington shot 622, 13 strokes back of victors Tarleton State.

Junior Audrey Orem was named the GNAC Women’s Golfer of the Week after tying for ninth at 10-over par 154. The finish was Orem’s top of the season and her second best tournament score. All five Viking golfers finished in the top-45 out of 96 total particpants. Junior Brooke Branigan shot 157 to tie for 20th place. Freshman Stephanie Sewell tied for 24th with a 158 and senior Kristen Hansen tied for 42nd with a score of 163.

Simon Fraser took part in their second spring tournament at the Battle of Primm in Primm, Nev., on Mar. 21 and 22. The Clan placed fifth out of 15 teams, led by a pair of 10th place individual finishes from freshman Emily Leung and Belinda Lin, who shot 13-over par 157. All five golfers placed in the top-40 for the Clan, with sophomore Michelle Waters tying for 36th at 165. Senior Mackenzie Field and sophomore Breanna Croxen tied for 40th at 166.

Montana State Billings opened its slate of spring golf tournaments with their own MSUB Spring Invitational on Mar. 29. The Yellowjackets took the team title as the only full team competing with a score of 319. They took four of the top five spots and six of the top eight led by freshman Anna DeMars second place finish at 3-over par 76. Fellow freshman Kortney McNeil placed third at 4-over par 77, followed by sophomores Bailee Dexter and Sammy Walter, who tied for fourth place with scores of 83. The event was originally scheduled for a pair of rounds over two days, but was shortened to one round due to weather conditions.

Also hosting their own tournament this week was Northwest Nazarene, who held the NNU Invitational on Mar. 28 and 29. The Crusaders took second place out of six teams, shooting 659 over two rounds. GNAC rivals Concordia placed third with a score of 337.

The Cavaliers’ Lynsie Furuya led all GNAC golfers with a second place finish, shooting 15-over par 159. Concordia’s Patricia Little tied for eighth place at 166 as all four Concordia golfers placed in the top-15. Haley Gochnour led all NNU golfers with a score of 163 to place fourth. Sisters Samantha and Stephanie Miller tied for fifth place at 164 for the Crusaders.

With the GNAC Championships approaching on Apr. 18 and 19, teams head out for their final tournaments. Montana State Billings, Western Washington and Saint Martin’s compete at the Mustang Intercollegiate on Apr. 1 and 2 in Goodyear, Ariz. On Apr. 4 and 5, Northwest Nazarene and Simon Fraser take part in the Sonoma State Spring Invitational for their final tournaments. Concordia finishes its season at the Doc Housewright Invitational in Granbury, Texas on Apr. 11 and 12 while MSUB attends the Bobcat Spring Invite in Goodyear, Ariz., on the same days.   

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