|Vandals battle back|
MESA, Ariz. – Improved putting made a tremendous difference for the University of Idaho women’s golf team as the Vandals shot their lowest round of the spring and the second-lowest of the day in climbing from a tie for sixth to a tie for fourth at the Western Athletic Conference Tournament.
The Vandals, with even-par 72s from sophomore Leilanie Kim and freshman Kristin Strankman, were 16 shots better than their opening round with a 296 Tuesday. They are at 608 along with Texas State – and just one stroke back of third-place USTA’s 607. Denver leads at 586 with San Jose State at 595.
“We putted significantly better,” said coach Lisa Johnson, adding that birdies and steady play early on set the tone for the day. “We made some long birdie putts early in the round. That helped their confidence. We had a better sense of the speed of the greens.”
Johnson said the team followed the plan it had established for the Longbow course, which benefits Idaho’s ball-striking and puts a premium on an efficient short-game.
“We have a great game plan for this golf course,” Johnson said. “We executed it. … It’s just great to see the team playing well at the end.”
Also for the Vandals, Rachel Choi’s 75 pushed her 36-hole total to 151 and into a tie with Kim for 11th. Kaitlyn Oster had a 77 Tuesday for a 153 and is tied with Strankman for 16th. Cassie McKinley, not only battling the 90-degree temperatures but illness, is 34th with a 165.
Play concludes Wednesday.