|WAC Championship begins Friday|
The University of Idaho women's golf team heads to the Western Athletic Conference's championship tournament with the league's top to individual scorers. It's time now, for the three, four and five players to pick up the pace and put the Vandals in contention for a title they last won in 2007.
The 54-hole event tees off Friday and concludes Sunday at Longbow Golf Club at Mesa, Ariz. Live scoring is available at www.golfstat.com.
Juniors Kayla Mortellaro and Teo Poplawski burst onto the scene as freshmen two years ago and have improved tournament-by-tournament as their college careers have progressed. Mortellaro, currently fourth nationally by GolfStat.com, leads the league with a 71.71 scoring average. Poplawski, 72nd by GolfStat.com, isn't far behind in second at 74.00.
"Kayla and Teo have been tremendous leaders this year," coach Lisa Johnson said. "They've been leading by example with the scores they've been shooting but off the course they're also very good leaders. They're team players. They're strong motivators."
Their steady approaches to the tournament need to be adopted by a younger group that has battled inconsistency as it finds its way through the transition to college golf. Their final outing - an individual tournament at Gonzaga last weekend, went a long way in giving Johnson an indication of their preparedness for the conference tournament.
"We learned a lot about our mental games," said Johnson, who sent junior Gracie Schory, sophomore Allyssa Nillson, and freshmen Rachel Choi and Julia Hitchins to the one-day, 36-hole event. "It started the conversation about what we need to do in the next five days to compete for a WAC Championship."
Heading into the tournament, Idaho has the third-best scoring average at 307.4 - not far off the conference best of 303.5 by New Mexico State. San Jose State is second at 305.2. What is promising is the Vandals twice have tied for the best round of a tournament (293) - and it happened two of their last three tournaments.