ST. GEORGE, Utah (April 21, 2007) -- In a neck-and-neck battle at the 2007 Mountain West Conference Women's Championship, No. 15 BYU was one stroke short of capturing it first conference championship since 1992 at Entrada at Snow Canyon on Saturday.
The Cougars started the day with a six stroke lead but surrendered the lead slowly on the front nine to the TCU Horned Frogs. At the turn BYU held a slim one-stroke lead before TCU jumped out in front with about five holes to play. The lead changed hands several times before BYU took what looked like a solid lead with just one hole to play after TCU's Valentine Derrey made a triple bogey and a bogey on 16 and 17. On the challenging No. 18, BYU could have clinched the title with four pars, but instead took two bogeys and a double bogey to fall back behind the Horned Frogs for the final one-stroke margin . Three weeks ago on this same course at the BYU Dixie Classic, it was the Cougars who were clutch down the stretch to edge out TCU for the team victory. This week it was the No. 24 Horned Frog's turn to avenge their earlier loss to the Cougars. It was TCU's first MWC crown and the first team other than UNLV and New Mexico to win the title.
"I think all of us are a little bummed because we expected to win," Senior Danielle von Arnim said. "When it's a one stroke difference it's easy to blame yourself, but coach (Nyhus) told us to keep our heads up and get ready for the most important part of the season. The season is not over and we have a lot to play for at regionals and nationals."
Individually, four Cougars placed in the top eight, but it still wasn't enough to overcome TCU's strong final round push. Rachel Newren, who was the overall leader through the first two rounds, fired a final-round 77 to finish three strokes behind New Mexico's Jodi Ewart. Ewart took home the conference championship thanks to a final-round 72. Newren finished in third place at 10 over par. The two-time All-American's final round 77 was identical to the 77 she fired three weeks previous at the Dixie Classic. Natalie Jimenez had the best final round for the Cougars on Saturday--going three-over-par 74 and finishing tied for sixth place. Von Arnim and junior Juli Erekson finished tied for eigth place individually at 17 over par. Both had identical final-round 78s. Freshman Daphne Vines went four-over 75 on Saturday to finish tied for 13th.
Next up for BYU is the NCAA West Regional. The Cougars will once again host the event at Entrada and hope their experience on their home course will vault them into the NCAA Championship for the second time in three years.