Sumner, Vikings Charge From Behind To Take Titles
The championship Western Washington women's golf team (L to R): Coach Luke Bennett, Megan Billeter, Sarah Shea, Claire Moon, Dani Bailey, Elise Sumner
The championship Western Washington women's golf team (L to R): Coach Luke Bennett, Megan Billeter, Sarah Shea, Claire Moon, Dani Bailey, Elise Sumner

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – Neither sophomore Elise Sumner or the Western Washington team were in the lead after 18 holes at the GNAC Women’s Golf Championships at the Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course. But they put together their strongest rounds when it mattered most and when all was said and done, the Vikings were in possession of both the team trophy and the individual medal.

Sumner shot a 2-over-par 73, the lowest women’s score of the day, to finish at 7-over-par 149 over 36 holes. She topped freshman teammate Dani Bailey for second place by two strokes. After finishing in sixth place at the GNAC Championships in 2021 during her freshman season, Sumner is on her way to a decorated GNAC career.

“I just kept playing a steady game,” Sumner said. “I wanted to try to hit the fairway, hit the green and then try to two-putt. Just play straightforward golf as best as I can.”

Despite whipping winds that increased through the second day, Sumner improved her round two score by three strokes to rise above the rest of the field. She entered the day tied for second place with Bailey and a stroke off the lead, but after teeing off on No. 10, Sumner was on fire down the sttetch.

She shot par or better on the final five holes of the round, with a birdie on hole No. 7 being a major difference as Bailey also finished with five consecutive pars. Sumner entered the final hole with a two-stroke lead and amintained that margin by holing out for par, locking up the individual medalist honors.

“It means a great deal,” Sumner said. “I’ve worked very hard to get here, and I’m super thankful for everyone that’s helped me get here.”

On the team side, Western Washington ended the first day two strokes behind Simon Fraser, but as Vikings’ players made runs up the leaderboard, so did the team. In the end, WWU beat SFU by 10 strokes, with the Vikings compliling a 36-hole score of 615. The Vikings won with consistency, caridng a 307 over the first round and 308 in the second round.

Simon Fraser finished in second place with a total score of 625. They were led by sophomore Natasha Kozlowski, the day-one leader who shot an 8-over-par 79 to finish at 154 for the tournament, and senior Estee Leung, who carded two rounds of 77 but moved up two spots on the final day to tie her teammate for third place. Simon Fraser’s Shirin Anjarwalla and WWU’s Megan Billeter tied for 5th place at 155.

The biggest movers on the final day were NNU’s Christine Cho and MSUB’s Tierney Messmer, who each moved up five spots over the course of the second round. Messmer shot a 6-over-par 77 after a 79 in round one and ascended to seventh place at 156. Cho improved from a round one 83 to a 7-over-par 78 in round two.

Northwest Nazarene took third place in the team championships with a score of 638. The Nighthawks had a cluster of golfers on the fringes of the top 10, with Hannah Holloway in eighth at 158, Madison Gridley in ninth at 159, Brianna Shervik in 10th at 160 and Cho in 11th at 161.

Montana State Billings came in fourth place with a score of 663. The Yellowjackets were led by Messmer’s seventh-place finish, which was a nice bit of redemption for the junior after just missing the top 10 by finishing 11th in last year’s GNAC Championships. Senior Kinsey Irvin carded an 84 and fell to 12th place.

Saint Martin’s wrapped up the scoring with a tally of 673 for fifth place. The Saints’ highest finisher was Jada French, who shot two rounds of 82 to finish in 14th at 164. Kathryn Crimp, the 2021 GNAC individual medalist, finished tied for 15th at 166 but jumped four spots on the leaderboard with her second-round 82.