RICHLAND, Wash. – Extending their first-day 24-stroke lead by 10 more strokes, the George Fox University Bruins captured the Northwest Conference Women’s Golf Championship Tournament which ended Saturday here at the Columbia Point Golf Course and earned a second straight trip to the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament.
The Bruins, who are ranked ninth in the latest Golf World / National Golf Coaches Association national poll, finished with a two-day score of 303-316=619. Their Friday round was a new school record and the lowest round ever in an NWC women’s event, while their 619 is another record for a two-day score in a conference tournament.
It was the first NWC Championship Tournament title for George Fox, securing the overall conference crown for the Bruins and the automatic bid to the national tournament that goes with it. Last year, the Bruins shared their first NWC title with Whitworth University and received an at-large bid to the NCAA playoffs because Whitworth won the NWC Championship Tournament, which serves as the tiebreaker if there are conference co-champions.
Whitman College finished second with a 327-326=653, followed by Linfield College with a 329-329=658, Whitworth with a 335-340=675, Pacific University with a 342-361=703, the University of Puget Sound with a 369-356=725, and Pacific Lutheran University with a 370-363=733. Willamette University and Lewis & Clark College did not have any entries.
Leading the Bruins to the tournament title Saturday was Brianna Nap, who earned medalist honors with a five-over-par 76-73=149 on the par 72, 5,898-yard course. Kelsey Morrison tied for second with a 74-81=155, Jill Westendorf was fourth with a 74-82=156, and Sarah Askin tied for seventh with an 82-80=162. Other Bruin scores included a 79-85=164 by Abby Mann, tying for 10th, and an 80-85=165 by Mandy Cameron, who placed 12th.
Nap was named the 2010-11 NWC Player of the Year, while Morrison and Westendorf joined her on the All-Conference Team. George Fox coach MaryJo McCloskey, who has been with the program for all five of its intercollegiate seasons, was named the NWC Coach of the Year for the first time.
Also earning All-NWC honors were Brynn Hurdus of Linfield, who tied Morrison for second with a 79-76=155, NWC Spring Classic medalist Katie Zajicek of Whitman, and NWC Fall Classic medalist Sarah Bicker of Puget Sound.
“I'm so proud of each and every player,” said Bruins head coach MaryJo McCloskey, who has been with the program for all five of its intercollegiate seasons. “We showed our depth and strength as a team as all six players finished in the top 12. We are really excited about returning to the NCAA nationals this year and having great experience to take with us.”
NEXT: George Fox will represent the Northwest Conference in the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament at the Mission Inn Resort Golf Course in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., on Tuesday-Friday, May 10-13. The Bruins finished eighth in their first national tournament appearance last year.