Vikings look to defend GNAC title

Anna Bourland

April 17, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. - The 2013-14 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women's Golf Championships are set to tee off on Monday, with all five conference schools heading to the Coeur d'Alene Resort to participate. The two-round women's tournament format will feature a single round each on Monday and Tuesday, and results will be posted online after every nine holes.

Western Washington sophomore Kristen Hansen earned Red Lion Golfer of the Week honors after tying for seventh place at the Tarleton State Doc Housewright Invitational on Tuesday. In the shortened single-round tournament, Hansen shot a 73, helping the Vikings to a fourth-place finish among the 9-team field.

On the season, WWU, which has won the first two GNAC titles, sits atop the GNAC women's golf leader board, averaging a conference-low 317.3 strokes per round.

Hansen is pacing the GNAC individually with an average score of 77.2, and teammate Anna Bourland ranks third in the conference in scoring average at 79.1. Hansen has twice finished in the top-5 at tournaments, and has finished in the top-10 in six of the Vikings' eight competitions so far this season.

Brooke Branigan (81.2) and Audrey Orem (81.3) are two more top golfers for the Vikings, checking in at seventh and eighth in the conference, respectively.

Also competing at the Doc Housewright Invitational on Tuesday was Saint Martin's, which is currently in third in the GNAC with a team average round of 325.4. Sophomore Jennifer Liedes has paced the Saints all season with a GNAC second-best scoring average of 78.2. Liedes has collected a pair of top-5 finishes for the Saints, and has finished in the top-10 in three of her team's seven competitions in 2013-14.

SMU senior Mandy Wittmier was the team's top finisher at this week's tournament, logging a 76 in the single round to finish tied for 19th. Wittmier's season average of 80.0 per round ranks fourth among GNAC competition heading into Monday's conference championships.

With a team scoring average of 323.6, Montana State Billings enters the championships with the second lowest average in the conference. The Yellowjackets are led by Katie Fish, a junior who is fifth in the GNAC with a scoring average of 80.1. Capri Ingram and Melissa Saken are tied for ninth in the conference at 81.4 strokes per round. Ingram and Fish have each finished in the top-5 at tournaments twice for the Yellowjackets this season.

Leading Northwest Nazarene this year has been freshman Samantha Miller, whose scoring average of 80.3 is the sixth-best mark in the GNAC. Miller has finished in the top-5 four times this season, and has landed in the top-10 on the leader board in six of the Crusaders' seven tournaments.

As a team, NNU ranks fourth in the conference with a scoring average of 340.2.

Rounding out the field for the GNAC Championships is Simon Fraser, which enters the tournament with an average team score of 352.4. Senior Nicky Jordan is the Clan's top golfer, averaging a score of 83.1 per round.


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