AURORA, Ore. — The Montana women’s golf team shot rounds of 319 and 313 on Monday as the Rose City Collegiate opened. The 12-team tournament is being played at Langdon Farms Golf Club.
Sophomore Kylie Esh posted scores of 77 and 75 and will go into Tuesday’s final round tied for 19th.
Esh was excellent on the course’s par-3’s, where she collected four of her five birdies for Monday’s 36 holes.
Only one golfer in the 70-player field — Northern Colorado’s Beah Cruz, who sits alone in third place at 2-under — was more efficient on the par-3’s.
Esh’s two big holes on the day, the 504-yard 11th in round one and the 514-yard 18th in round two, cost her five strokes.
“Her driver got away from her on a couple holes, which cost her,” said Griz coach Kris Nord. “She’s a little off. She’s not striking the ball like she was a week or two ago, but she’s scrambling and getting up and down.”
Eastern Washington’s Madalyn Ardueser, with rounds of 70 and 69, sits atop the leaderboard at 5-under. Brittany Shin (73-67) of Cal State Fullerton is one stroke back.
Cruz (76-66) and Portland State’s Valerie Hernandez (70-73) are also under par going into the final round.
Five of Montana’s 10 scoring rounds on Monday were in the 80s, which kept the Grizzlies, who also played with three non-scoring individuals, from cracking the top 10.
Esh is the only Montana golfer in the top 40 after 36 holes.
“It’s a really nice course and we had pretty nice weather, but we did not bring our best golf to the course today. We didn’t play well,” said Nord.
Sophomores Brooklyn Van Bebber (79-79) and Allison Sobol (78-80) are tied for 44th, but Van Bebber, the only Montana player besides Esh to post two scores in the 70s, is competing as an individual.
Freshman Tricia Joyce (85-76) and junior Faith D’Ortenzio (79-82) are tied for 54th.
After playing 12 of 18 holes at bogey or worse in her opening round, Joyce was solid in the afternoon. Sitting 3-over through three holes, she played her final 15 holes at 1-over.
“We had a bunch of kids not shoot well in the first round, and she did not wave the flag,” said Nord. “She grinded and tried to post a score. She pulled it off, which was great to see.”
Freshman Jessica Ponce (86-83) was Montana’s fifth scoring player.
Senior Teigan Avery (82-81) and freshman Emmy Sundby (83-83) are also competing for the Grizzlies as individuals.
Cal State Fullerton (289-296) has a comfortable nine-stroke lead over host Portland State (293-301) with 18 holes left to be played on Tuesday.
Seattle (302-297), Northern Colorado (305-295) and Weber State (313-293) round out the top five.
“Most of our kids kept their poise and kept competing, but it was just a rough day of golf,” said Nord. “I really hope we can respond tomorrow.”
— Griz Communications