BYU Looks for First MWC Title in 14 Years

Natalie and Rachel Newren look to lead the Cougars to their first MWC Championship title in 14 years

PROVO -- After coming off a third-place finish at the BYU Dixie Classic just weeks ago, the 36th-ranked BYU women's golf team will travel to the 2005 Mountain West Conference Championship in Sunriver, Ore. April 21-23.

The Cougars will face off against a five-team field, including No. 11 New Mexico, No. 26 UNLV, No. 52 Colorado State, No. 105 San Diego State and No. 151 Wyoming.

Some of the nation's top golfers will be competing in the event, including No. 23 Kailin Downs (New Mexico), No. 36 Elena Kurokawa (UNLV), No. 63 Rachel Newren (BYU) and No. 81 Christine Fernandez (New Mexico).

BYU head coach Sue Nyhus said she hopes the momentum the Cougars gained at the BYU Dixie Classic can carry them to their first conference title in 14 years.

"We are poised to have a great event," Nyhus said. "We feel everyone is ready to play and the whole team will do well."

Sophomore Rachel Newren, who recorded her first career victory at the BYU Dixie Classic, and seniors Natalie Newren and Margaret Gibby-Wright, who both finished in the top 15 at the Classic, will lead the Cougars in this year's tournament.

In last year's MWC Championship, the Cougars finished third with a 28-over-par 880 behind UNLV (856) and New Mexico (858).

Senior Margaret Gibby-Wright led the Cougars with an individual fourth-place finish in last year's tournament, just three strokes back of tournament champion Sunny Oh (UNLV). Rachel Newren finished in 15th place with a 9-over-par 222 in last year's tournament, followed by Natalie Newren in 19th place with a 12-over-par 225.