BYU Faces Stiffest Competition of Season

The Cougars finish Day One of UNLV Spring Invitational in eighth place

LAS -- Facing its most difficult field of teams this season, the No. 41 BYU women's golf team finished the opening round of the UNLV Spring Invitational in eighth place with a 37-over-par 325.

This year's tournament presents the Cougars with seven Golfweek Top-30 teams, including Pepperdine (5), Tennessee (9), Arizona (19), USC (23), Michigan (25), Purdue (26) and UNLV (27). The tournament also boasts five Top-30 collegiate golfers, which include Tennessee's Violeta Retamoza (6), Purdue's Myrte Eikenaar (20) and Pepperdine's Rachel Kyono (25), Eileen Vargas (26) and Carolina Llano (29).

Tough windy conditions made for a slow Cougar start in the first nine holes as they shot 25 over par. However, the back nine promised a better showing as BYU slammed its foot on the accelerator, shooting 12 over par and moving into their current eighth-place spot.

"We didn't play that bad, actually," said assistant coach Dave DeSantis. "Each of the girls had a hole that bit them. One of the coolest things we noticed as coaches was that none of the girls got down on themselves. They were really positive and showed great spirit."

Freshman Juli Wightman and sophomore Rachel Newren led the way for the Cougars in the opening round, shooting a pair of 7-over-par 79s. Wightman's consistency (39-40) and Newren's late charge (44-35) kept BYU in the competition. The two remain in 17th place, just six strokes back of the leader USC's Catalina Marin.

Sophomores Alexis Edwards (82) and Danielle von Arnim (85) rounded off the Cougars' team score. Edwards, who also heated up on the back nine with a 37, finished the day at 10-over-par. Arnim found herself at seven over par after 16 holes, but struggled in the final two holes with two triple-bogeys, wrapping up the opening round at 13 over par. Senior Margaret Gibby-Wright made her first appearance of the spring season, shooting an opening round 86.

"Rachel had a good finish on the back nine," DeSantis said. "But that triple-bogey-triple-bogey on the last two holes really set us back. We're still in a good position to move up tomorrow."

The Cougars look to make up ground on the leader board tomorrow in the second round of the UNLV Spring Invitational.

Black Mountain Golf and Country Club -- Par 72 -- 6,009 yards

TEAM RESULTS (Golfweek Ranking)

1. USC(23) 149-157--306

T2. Arizona(19) 159-153--312

T2. UNLV-A(27) 152-160--312

4. Michigan(25) 161-155--316

5. Pepperdine(5) 158-159--317

6. Tennessee(9) 159-159--318

7. Nevada(63) 162-159--321

8. BYU(41) 156-169--325

9. Purdue(26) 154-172--326

10. Iowa St.(60) 170-167--327

11. Nebraska(63) --329

T12. Northern Arizona 162-170--332

T12. Denver(69) 159-173--332

14. Memphis 170-166--336

15. Eastern Washington 164-174--338

16. Indiana 166-177--343

17. Northern Iowa 164-180--344

18. UNLV-B 170-180--350

- Through 18 holes, 36 holes remaining

INDIVIDUAL RESULTS

T17. Rachel Newren 44-35--79 (+7)

T17. Juli Wightman 39-40--79 (+7)

T40. Alexis Edwards 45-37--82 (+10)

T63. Danielle von Arnim 41-44--85 (+13)

T71. Margaret Gibby-Wright 44-42--86 (+14)

Tags: Results