Junior Alexis Edwards had the highest finish for the Cougars at the Edean Ihlandfeldt Invitational. BYU struggled to gain consistency and finished 11th out of 14 teams. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
SAMMAMISH -- After moving up to No. 20 in the latest Golfstat rankings, the BYU women's golf team turned in its lowest finish of the season at the Edean Ihlandfeldt Invitational, battling a challenging course, a formidable field and wet Washington weather to end in 11th place.
The Cougars were in fifth place after an 18-over 306 on Monday, but they had difficulty lowering their scores and fell out of contention by shooting 325 and 317 in Round 2 and Round 3, respectively. The par-72 Sahalee Country Club, which BYU head coach Sue Nyhus said may be one of the top 100 courses in the country, proved hard for BYU to navigate under rain, wind and low temperatures.
Cougar freshman Natalia Jimenez turned in her best performance of the tournament with a final-round 4-over 76, besting her Tuesday total by 12 strokes. Junior Alexis Edwards posted the team's highest individual finish by tying for 40th.
"Natalia figured out the golf course a little bit and played very well, and that was helpful to us today," Nyhus said. "That was the biggest difference between yesterday and today."
In a battle of top-10 teams, ninth-ranked Pepperdine overcame a six-shot deficit at the beginning of the final round to slide by sixth-ranked Arizona State to take the tournament title by one stroke. Jennifer Osborn of Arizona State took individual medalist honors with a two-stroke victory over USC's Irene Cho.
Although BYU's No. 20 ranking is its highest since Golfstat began producing them, Nyhus said her team has a lot of work to do to get back into the winning mode. The Cougars opened the season with a tournament win at the Oregon State Women's Invitational, but they haven't been within 24 strokes from the top in the last two competitions.
"We started the season pretty strong, but now we need to get back to where we're playing well again," Nyhus said. "We need to put the time and effort in to be prepared to play properly. We need to practice more and find new ways to improve."
BYU will have almost three weeks to prepare for its final tournament of the fall, the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown, which begins Oct. 31.
Fin. Team Score
1 Pepperdine 294-307-290--891 (+27)
2 Arizona State 300-295-297--892 (+28)
3 USC 312-304-293--909 (+45)
4 UNLV 306-301-908--915 (+51)
5 Arizona 302-314-302--918 (+54)
6 Stanford 300-317-306--923 (+59)
7 Long Beach State 306-309-310--925 (+61)
8 California 311-315-302--928 (+64)
T9 Oregon 313-312-305--930 (+66)
T9 Washington 308-309-313--930 (+66)
11 BYU 306-325-317--948 (+84)
T12 Washington State 318-321-314--953 (+89)
T12 Oregon State 315-316-322--953 (+89)
14 San Francisco 327-316-318--961 (+97)
BYU Individual Results
Fin. Golfer Score
T40 Alexis Edwards 75-77-83--235 (+19)
T43 Rachel Newren 73-82-81--236 (+20)
T47 Juli Wightman 76-84-79--239 (+23)
T61 Natalia Jimenez 82-88-76--246 (+30)
T64 Ashley Childers 85-82-81--248 (+32)