Rachel Newren is in third place at the BYU Dixie Classic
ST, GEORGE -- Before an afternoon rainstorm forced cancellation of the second round, sophomore Rachel Newren helped lead BYU into fifth place after the first day of the 18th annual BYU Dixie Classic at Entrada at Snow Canyon.
Morning winds turned into a microburst rainstorm that led to the canceling of Monday's second round. Gusty winds up to 40 miles per hour also sent scores soaring. Out of 77 golfers only eight had scores in the 70s. Thanks to the stormy winds and hard greens many teams posted their highest rounds of the season during Monday's first round.
No. 26 UNLV, who has claimed the last two BYU Dixie Classic titles, holds a 10-stroke lead over 16th-ranked Arkansas after going 32-over 320. Arkansas finished in second at 330 followed by Portland State and Boise State. The Cougars are in fifth place after a first-round 333, their highest round of the season by eight strokes.
Rachel Newren was the top Cougar at six-over 78 while Margaret Gibby-Wright, playing in her last home tournament, shot a first round 79. Both are among the top 10 individuals finishing the day tied for third and fifth respectively.
UNLV's Hwanhee Lee leads the tournament after going three-over 75. Jenny Judd of Boise State is two strokes behind Lee at five-over-par. Newren and UNLV's Seema Sadekar are tied for third at six-over.
Other Cougars contributing were senior Natalie Newren, older sister of Rachel, who is tied for 15th place at 10-over, and freshman Juli Wightman, who ended the day with an 86.
According to BYU assistant coach Dave DeSantis the winds adversely affected the Cougars play in their lone home tournament of the season.
"Our team needs to play better in windy conditions," DeSantis said. "Our players are higher ball hitters and many of them haven't had enough experience playing in the wind."
With a spot in the NCAA regional tournament secured, the 35th-ranked Cougars will use the Dixie Classic as an important preparation for post-season play according to DeSantis.
"Hale Irwin once said he never has a bad day, he either plays well or learns well," DeSantis said. "These conditions and challenges are good preparation for our upcoming NCAA tournament.
The BYU Dixie Classic will resume on Tuesday at Entrada with split tee times beginning at 8 a.m. The public is welcome and admission is free.
"We're looking forward to good weather tomorrow with a hope of catching the leaders," BYU head coach Sue Nyhus said.
1. UNLV 320 +32
2, Arkansas 330 +42
2. Portland State 330 +42
4. Boise State 332 +44
5. BYU 333 +45
6. Colorado 335 +47
7. Oral Roberts 336 +48
7. North Texas 336 +48
9. Colorado State 339 +51
10. Idaho 339 +51
11. San Diego St. 342 +54
12. Arkansas State 349 +61
12. Wyoming 349 +61
14. Weber State 356 +68
BYU INDIVIDUAL SCORES
T3. Rachel Newren 78 +6
T5. Margaret Gibby-Wright* 79 +7
T15. Natalie Newren 82 +10
T42. Juli Wightman 86 +14
T46. Alexis Edwards 87 +15
T51. Ashley Childers * 88 +16
T64. Danielle von Arnim 91 +19
*playing as an individual, not counted toward team score