The Fort Lewis College women’s golf team hosted the first NCAA golf tournament at Hillcrest Golf Club in four years, but it was Dallas Baptist University that stole the show.
Dallas Baptist, last season’s runner-up at the NCAA Division II National Championship, carried a 15-stroke lead into Tuesday’s second round of the Skyhawks Regional Fall Preview and cruised to a 16-shot victory.
“We played really, really well (Monday), especially with greens like this,” Dallas Baptist head coach Kelly Trapp said. “Some of the pin placements were very, very iffy, and today we struggled a little bit, but it’s a difficult golf course.”
The Patriots shot a 1-over 285 during Monday’s first round, then posted a 301 Tuesday to win the 20-team event. West Texas A&M finished second with a 602, followed by California State University-San Marcos in third with a 604.
Fort Lewis finished 20th with a 691, but no team’s score improved from the first round to the second round as much as FLC’s.
“The Fort Lewis girls, although we finished last in the field, I’m pretty proud of them,” said FLC head coach Guy Begay, whose team shaved 17 shots off its first-round score for a 337 on Tuesday. “We’re still a young program and it’s going to take a few years to get established and compete at this level because this is where we need to be and we’re working to get there.”
Dallas Baptist’s Addison Mitchell won medalist honors with a 1-over 243, one shot clear of teammate Ann Parmerter and Colorado State University-Pueblo’s Courtney Ewing after Mitchell scrambled through the 18th hole.
Mitchell’s tee shot on the par-4 dogleg left didn’t draw and found the trees on the right side of the fairway. Her second shot came out higher than planned, hit a tree, ricocheted even farther right and ended up in the seventh fairway. From there, she played her third shot to the front of the green, lagged a downhill putt to about a foot and tapped in for bogey to secure the win.
Mitchell and Ewing carded the only under-par rounds of the tournament. Mitchell shot a 2-under 69 Monday, and Ewing fired a 69 on Tuesday.
Summer Vigil led FLC with a 162, which tied for 76th overall. Isabell Martinez shot a 163 (T-77th), Kara Tschirhart posted a 180 (97th), Reiley Waldo fired a 187 (99th) and Shelby Hindes carded a 188 (100th) to round out the Skyhawks’ two-round scoring.
The two-day tournament also served as a test run for the NCAA Division II West Regional on May 7-9 and drew teams from seven states, along with Canada’s Simon Fraser University, to get an early glimpse of the course they’ll play in the spring.
“This course, if you haven’t seen it, can kick your butt,” Mitchell said. “I think it was crucial that we were here and played it well, at least yesterday. I got a feel for it for a couple of days and dealt with the wind today. It was very important.”
Monday and Tuesday’s dry run for the tournament in the spring went about as well as Begay could have hoped for.
“I think the tournament went as smooth as it could have. We didn’t have too many hiccups that we couldn’t fix in a couple of minutes,” Begay said. “It was a great event.”