11th-ranked Mortellaro wins again
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 03/30/2010
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DOVE CANYON, Calif. - University of Idaho sophomore Kayla Mortellaro, who now is ranked 11th nationally, won back-to-back for the first time in her young career Tuesday when she carded a final-round 68 to win the UC Irvine Anteater Invitational.

Mortellaro, who helped the 40th-ranked Vandals to sixth, had five birdies during Tuesday's round for a three-under 68. After an even-par 71 in the opening round and a four-over 75 in the second, she won at one-over 214 for a three-stroke margin over UC Irvine's Hillary Packard.

"She hit the ball very well all three rounds," said coach Lisa Johnson, who added Mortellaro and her teammates have been plagued by illness. "She had a stretch of holes (Monday) where she was just physically exhausted.

"Today she hit a lot of shots close to the pin and made a lot of birdies."

Tuesday's victory was the third of the 2009-10 season and fourth of her career.

Like Mortellaro, the rest of the Vandals had their best day Tuesday. After opening the tournament with an uncharacteristic 318, Idaho rallied with a 311 in Monday's second round before posting a 299 over the final 18 holes. The 299 was the third best round of the day Tuesday and tied for fourth best during the tournament, which featured five top 50 teams and seven ranked in the top 100.

"It was a tough field," Johnson said. "We got off to a very poor start yesterday. In the first round, we had quite a few "others." This last round we were able to minimize those mistakes and turn the bad swings into bogeys instead of something worse."

No. 48 San Diego State won the tournament at 899 with No. 43 San Francisco second at 905, No. 81 Kentucky third at 912, No. 38 UC Irvine fourth at 914, and No. 79 Long Beach State was fifth at 915 and the Vandals were at 928.

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