ANACONDA — The Montana women’s golf team opened its fall season by carding scores of 313 and 312 on Monday as the three-round Battle at Old Works got underway at the Old Works Golf Club in Anaconda.
The tournament concludes on Tuesday with a final 18 holes. (Results)
Leading the way for the Grizzlies were sophomore Kylie Esh, who shot rounds of 75 and 76, and freshman Tricia Joyce, who responded to her opening-round 81 with a 70 in the afternoon.
Opening round 2 on No. 15, Joyce worked her way to 4-under through 12 holes. She gave two strokes away with bogeys on Nos. 9 and 10 before closing with four straight pars.
Her 70 matched the best score of the day. The only other 70s came from 36-hole leader Madalyn Ardueser of Eastern Washington and Montana State’s Kelly Hooper, who is tied for second.
“Tricia was awesome the second round,” Griz coach Kris Nord said of the Butte Central graduate. “I don’t know if she missed a green. She was spot-on hitting the ball. It was fun to watch.
“I’m not surprised by it. I think she’s a gamer. She’s going to be in the mix for us down the road.”
Esh and Joyce are tied for 16th in the 61-player field at 7-over.
Esh and senior Teigan Avery (79-78), who is competing as an individual, were the only Montana players to post back-to-back scores in the 70s.
“We weren’t very good on the greens today. We didn’t putt very well. We left a lot of birdie and par opportunities out there,” said Nord.
“We were probably a little nervous with some first-tournament jitters. The greens were a little faster than we’re used to, but other teams were making putts. We actually hit the ball fairly well overall.”
Joining Esh as Montana’s five scoring players were sophomores Allison Sobol (77-80) and Brooklyn Van Bebber (83-76), freshman Jessica Ponce (80-80) and junior Faith D’Ortenzio (81-80).
Also competing for Montana as individuals were sophomore Katie Schlichenmayer (86-79) and freshmen Margaret Harmon (85-81) and Emmy Sundby (85-82).
It was a particularly impressive showing for Schlichenmayer, who opened her collegiate career at Old Works last September with rounds of 104, 106 and 90. Her best score as a freshman was an 87.
After a day of ideal weather on Monday, the golfers will likely go out in rain on Tuesday morning, with the precipitation forecasted to let up as the final round goes along.
“We’ve got some weather coming in, so striking the ball is going to be important. It’s going to be a longer course if the rain hits,” said Nord.
“We have a long ways to go with our putting. We need the flat sticks to cooperate tomorrow. The second thing will be managing the course. If we miss, we have to miss in better places.”
Ardueser (71-70) leads the field by a stroke over Hooper (70-72) and EWU teammate Alexa Clark (71-71).
Cal Poly (288-297) holds the 36-hole lead by four strokes over Eastern Washington (294-295) and nine over North Dakota State (289-305).
— Griz Communications