Cougars finish an impressive 2nd in Las Vegas

Rachel Newren earned her third top three finish on the season at the UNLV Spring Invitational

LAS VEGAS -- BYU's No. 33 ranked women's golf team carded a one-over-par 289, the best final round score of the day, and moved up to finish second behind host UNLV at the UNLV Spring Invitational at Boulder Creek Golf Club on Wednesday.

BYU was in fifth place after two rounds, but thanks to solid team play by all five Cougars on the final day they were able to leap ahead of two top 25 teams into second place--their third straight second-place finish on the season. The Cougars were just three shots behind ninth-ranked UNLV and four strokes ahead of No. 23 Long Beach State and nine strokes ahead of No. 22 New Mexico. This was BYU's first tournament victory over traditional women's golf power and four-time MWC champion New Mexico in over 10 years.

"This was a huge step forward for our program," BYU head coach Sue Nyhus said. "We had a great tournament ,and the icing on the cake was our ability to hit five balls in play on a very demanding and challenging 18th hole while the two other teams we were trailing only hit one ball in play combined."

On the final day BYU's 289 was eight strokes better than any other team in the field, and over the last 27 holes, the Cougars were a solid eight-under-par as a team. The result in Las Vegas this week is an indicator of the strong development BYU's women's golf program has made in the last year. Last season the Cougars finished seventh in this same tournament against a similar field and were 43 shots out of first place. This year the Cougars were just three shots away from defeating ninth-ranked UNLV.

"I'm just excited to see our team's confidence growing," Nyhus said. "To go 72-72-72-73 on the toughest scoring day of the tournament is impressive and an indication of where we are going as a team."

Individually, BYU was led by All-American Rachel Newren who finished even par for the tournament and in third place--her third top three finish on the season. Newren carded a even-par 72 on the day with three birdies and three bogies. The Cougars also had two other golfers finish among the top 15. Alexis Edwards had her best tournament of 2006 going 77-72-72--221 and finishing five-over and tied for 12th place with teammate Juli Wightman. Wightman earned her fourth top 15 finish on the season and her third consecutive. Newren, Edwards and Wightman all had eagles during the 54-hole tournament. Natalie Jimenez finished strong with a one-over 73 in her final round. Jimenez finish tied for 41st place at 14-over-par while fellow Colombian Danielle von Arnim was tied for 28th place at 11-over-par.

Next up for BYU is the Anteater Invitational on March 20-21 hosted by UC Irvine in Irvine, Calif.

BYU INDIVIDUAL SCORES

3. Rachel Newren 74-70-72--216 (E)

T12. Alexis Edwards 77-72-72--221 (+5)

T12. Juli Wightman 75-74-72--221 (+5)

T28. Danielle von Arnim 77-74-76--227 (+11)

T41. Natalia Jimenez 81-76-73--230 (+14)

95 Individuals

TEAM RESULTS

1 UNLV 290-289-300--879 +15

2 Brigham Young 303-290-289--882 +18

3 Campbell University 296-292-297--885 +21

4 Long Beach State 289-296-301--886 +22

5 New Mexico 301-288-302--891 +27

6 Fresno State 294-302-308--904 +40

7 San Jose State 303-299-310--912 +48

8 San Diego State 306-302-307--915 +51

9 Idaho 311-304-304--919 +55

T10 Texas Tech 303-302-316--921 +57

T10 Indiana 301-307-313--921 +57

12 Memphis 308-300-317--925 +61

13 Eastern Washington 313-300-315--928 +64

14 Nevada 308-307-316--931 +67

15 Illinois 305-312-315--932 +68

16 Colorado 313-307-315--935 +71

17 Illinois State 312-309-324--945 +81

18 Colorado State 317-308-322--947 +83

Tags: Results