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Clan Seeks Repeat Success At Women's Golf Championships
Emily Leung and Simon Fraser will look to defend their conference titles when the 2018 GNAC Women's Golf Championships return to the Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course on Monday.
Emily Leung and Simon Fraser will look to defend their conference titles when the 2018 GNAC Women's Golf Championships return to the Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course on Monday.

Friday, April 20, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. – Culminating last year’s tournament with a championships record, Simon Fraser hopes for an identical performance as they lead a strong field of six teams at the 2018 GNAC Women’s Golf Championships on Monday and Tuesday at the Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course.

Simon Fraser enters as the two-time defending champion after breaking the tournament record with a team score of 616. Of their five players at last year’s tournament, four have returned to pace the Clan with a league-best 313.3 stroke average. Simon Fraser has been consistent all season, earning a handful of top-five finishes to go along with 12 top-10 individual honors. The Clan took first place at September’s Northwest Shootout and led all GNAC teams with a second-place finish at the Saint Martin’s Invitational in the fall.

Junior Emily Leung, the reigning GNAC Player of the Year, has shown no signs of slowing down as she boasts a league-best 77.6 stroke average. The defending GNAC tournament champion, Leung carded a tournament-low 1-under par 70 in the first round to win by a six-stroke margin in last year’s competition. Senior Michelle Waters, the 2016 individual champion, looks to finish her collegiate season strong as she is fifth in the GNAC with a 79.3 stroke average.

Junior Belinda Lin, a two-time GNAC Golf Player of the Week recipient, is also among the top competitors for the individual title as she is eighth in the GNAC with a 79.7 stroke average. She tied for sixth in last year’s competition. The Clan is also ranked No. 13 in the NCAA Division II West Region Rankings.

Finishing in a tie for third last year, Concordia is primed to challenge for the team title in its third season in the GNAC. Second in the league with a 314.5 stroke average, the Cavaliers have finished within the top-five on four occasions this year with their best effort coming in a second-place finish at the Northwest Shootout.

Concordia will rely on the experience of sophomore Cammie Decker, the 2017 Co-Freshman of the Year and junior Shantel Antonio, the 2016 GNAC Newcomer of the Year. The duo has been Concordia’s two most consistent players all year as they are second and third in the GNAC with stroke averages of 77.8 and 79. Freshman Kendall Freeman may also surprise some people at the tournament. At the Sonoma State Spring Invite earlier this month, Freeman led all GNAC players in seventh place for her second top-10 finish of the year.

Western Washington, the five-time GNAC champion, comes into the tournament after playing just three events this spring. Senior Jenn Paul, the 2015 and 2016 GNAC Co-Player of the Year, finished in a tie for third place at last year’s championships with a score of 12-over par 154. Paul also leads the team and is fourth in the conference at 79 strokes per round.

Junior Hannah Drake finished one stroke behind Paul for fifth place at last year’s tournament. She is third on the team with an 80.9 stroke average and one of two Vikings with a top-10 finish, tying for eighth at the Northwest Shootout. In her first full season with the Vikings, junior Annie Leete is eager to make a splash in her inaugural tournament appearance after transferring from Eastern Washington last spring.

Montana State Billings comes into the tournament on a high after claiming the team title at its own Yellowjacket Spring Invite earlier this week. The Yellowjackets achieved its best team score at the Warrior Invitational in March, where they placed second in the nine-team field at 633 strokes. Montana State Billings returns three players from last year’s championships’ squad in senior Bailee Dexter, junior Shealyn Hafer and senior Sammy Walter. Dexter paces the team and is ninth in the GNAC with a 79.8 stroke average.

Saint Martin’s will look to replicate the success it had to start the year, where it achieved a pair of top-four finishes in the fall. The Saints finished four strokes back of third-place Western Washington at the Northwest Shootout before placing fourth overall and third among GNAC teams at its own Saint Martin’s Invitational in October. Junior Celia Beyke looks to attain her third top-10 finish of the season as she leads the Saints with an 81.1 stroke average.

Northwest Nazarene hopes to make it 3 for 3 in the state of Idaho next week. The Nighthawks defeated College of Idaho twice this season in a pair of dual matches in the fall and spring. Junior Stephanie Miller ended last year ‘s conference tournament with a team-low 17-over par 159 for an eighth-place tie. She will be joined by sophomore Natalie Beggrow, who has improved dramatically from her inaugural season with a pair of top-10 finishes this season.

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