The Western Washington University women’s golf team concluded their postseason in Denton, Texas at the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II West Regional on Wednesday May 5, finishing in ninth place.
"It was nice to end the season on a positive note,” Luke Bennett, women’s golf head coach, said. “[The team] managed to accomplish some great achievements during the season [and] I am proud of each one of them.”
After a successful regular season and winning the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship, the women's golf team earned an automatic bid and were the number nine seed at the NCAA Division II West Regional.
This was the 11th time in the program's history that they had advanced to the regionals.
“It felt really refreshing because it was the first time in six years that our program had been entered into the NCAA championship,” sophomore Sarah Shea said. “Our opportunity to go was pretty good once we went to GNAC; once we got the ticket it felt really good to be there.”
The tournament lasted three days, from May 3 through 5, spanning 54 holes — 18 holes per day.
The Vikings took ninth place on the first day shooting a 31-over-par team round of 319. There were nine teams in the tournament, six of which were listed in the national top 25 ranking.
On the first day, freshman Elise Sumner, who was recognized as GNAC’s player of the year, led the Western team, being tied for 29th place. Shea tied for 33rd, junior Kolby Heggenes tied for 37th, and freshman Dani Bailey and freshman Sophia Schmidt tied for 44th place.
“What I learned this year kind of emcompasses the whole situation with [COVID-19] is that you should be grateful for just being able to play,” Sumner said. “You could have it taken away at any moment.”
As the second day came to a close, the Vikings reamined in ninth place, pushing through the long course and harsh winds.
Shea and Sumner both tied for 36th while Bailey had the best round of the day for the Vikings with a 9-over-par 81, placing her tied for 42nd.
Western concluded the final day of the tournament by placing ninth.
Sumner was the highest Viking to place, tying for 37th out of 48 players out of the three day tournament. The Viking had rounds of 78-83-77 for a 22-over-par total of 238.
“I think I did pretty well on golf, but there is always room for improvement,” Sumner said. “For improvement, I definitely want to beat myself for next year, having a little competition with myself.”
Bailey, who was recognized as GNAC’s freshman of the year, tied for 39th place, recording an eagle on the 523 yard No. 17 on the final day.
Shea tied for 41st, Heggenes tied for 43rd and Schmidt placed 48th, ending the tournament with a 10-over-par 82.
“This was a great experience for the team at the NCAA Championships,” Bennett said.
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