By Montana Sports Information
CHANDLER, Airz. — Teigan Avery, who played Montana’s fall schedule to an average of 81, shot a 76 on Wednesday, her fourth consecutive round in the 70s, and leads the Griz golf team at the Portland State/Eastern Washington Invitational at the Ocotillo Golf Resort. (Results)
Avery closed the Red Rocks Invitational over the weekend with back-to-back scores in the 70s and has opened the team’s mid-week tournament with scores of 77 and 76. She will enter Thursday’s final round tied for 13th.
“This is more of who Teigan is than what she showed in the fall,” said coach Kris Nord. “This is the player she is, and she’s still leaving a couple out there. She can go lower.”
Avery and Hailey Hoagland, a Butte High graduate who shot a team-best 75 on Wednesday, helped Montana card a 307, the Grizzlies’ third-lowest round of the spring.
Montana, which had eight double-bogeys from its top five players, will still go into the final round on Thursday in sixth place out of six teams, two strokes behind Eastern Washington, six behind Seattle and Montana State.
“We’re having a couple of holes that are hurting everybody’s round, just a couple of double-bogeys here and there,” said Nord. “But we’re throwing up some birdies as well, so I’m real happy with that.
“If we can avoid the big scores, we’ll be fine. We’re real close. We’re going in the right direction.”
Hoagland was 1-under through 13 holes on Wednesday but took a pair of double-bogeys in the final five holes for her 3-over 75.
Avery had a pair of birdies in her round, as did Baylee Barckley and Faith D’Ortenzio, who shot scores of 77 and 79, the same score as Kari Opatz.
“Playing the course and making good decisions, that’s where we’re slipping up now and then, and that’s an area we’re going to get better. We can shoot better. We just need to keep doing what we’re doing, which is play,” said Nord.
“I’d love to see some of these girls go low 70s tomorrow. That’s what we’ll need to move up. But overall I’m pleased. Everybody is hanging in there.”
Hoagland, tied for 15th, and Barckley, tied for 17th, join Avery in the top 20 in the individual standings.
Caylyn Villatora, competing as an individual, had more birdies than any of her teammates on the day, with three, including the final two holes, to finish with an 82. Abby Pfeifer shot an 83.
Portland State followed its 287 on Tuesday with a 293 on Wednesday and will take a 25-stroke lead over UMKC into the final 18 holes. The Kangaroos also broke 300 on Wednesday, carding a 298 to break free of the other four teams in the field.
The Vikings’ Tara Finigan, who opened with an even-par 72 on Tuesday, shot a 69 on Wednesday and holds a three-stroke lead over teammate Valerie Hernandez.
Montana State’s Delaney Elliott hit 71 and 74 and sits in third place at 145. Teammate Kelly Hooper is tied for eighth at 148, and Jaylee Tait is in 12th at 151.
— Butte Sports contributed to this report.