Newren starts the spring season with a top-10 finish at the Wildcat Invitational (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
TUCSON -- The No. 22 BYU women's golf team proved they are among the best by finishing fourth against a field of eleven of the top- 20 teams in the nation at the Wildcat Invitational on Tuesday.
A sunny day in Arizona was the perfect setting for the Cougars to make a statement and establish themselves among the nation's elite golf programs. Following a 27-over-par 311 second round on Monday afternoon, the Cougars answered back early in the morning Tuesday with a good start and steady play throughout the day. They tied Duke, the defending national champions, for the lowest round of the day at four-over-par 288. The Cougars finished with a 43-over-par 895 in their first tournament since coming off a three-month break.
"Today we made the adjustments we needed to make from yesterday's rounds and got off to a good start," said head coach Sue Nyhus, "Duke is a good team to be tying, both for the first and the last rounds. This is where our team belongs."
BYU finished ahead of eight top-20 teams including No. 3 Pepperdine, No. 6 Vanderbilt, No. 8 Arizona, No. 11 UCLA, No. 9 Stanford and conference rivals No. 14 New Mexico and No. 27 UNLV.
All-American Rachel Newren led the field during the last round with a three-under-par 68. After a six-over 77 on the second round, she finished with a four-over-par 217 total and a fourth place finish. Nationally ranked at No. 42, Newren finished ahead of five players in the top-10 national individual rankings.
"I was hitting good approach shots today. I had control over the ball, I knew what it was going to do," said Newren, "After that I just had to roll them in."
Junior Juli Erekson battled back from two bogeys early in the round to finish at even-par 71 for the day and with an 11-over-par 224 total. Natalia Jimenez was close behind with a four-over-par 75 final round and a 12-over-par 225 total for the tournament.
Daphne Vines finished the tournament tied for 36th with a 79 in the second round and a three-over-par 74 in the final round. Alexis Edwards adds a six-over-par 77 to the eight-over-par 79 she shot in the second round, to finish tied for 47th with a 20-over-par 233.
No. 2 Arizona State jumped out early in the second round and stayed in place to finish first by eight shots over Duke. Amanda Blumenherst of Duke University held on to her 36-hole lead at three-under par, to win the tournament by four.
Next up for the Cougars is the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown, where they will once again challenge some of the top-ranked teams of the nation.
1 Arizona State 300-277-291--868
2 Duke 296-292-288--876
3 Southern Califonia 296-294-291--881
4 Brigham Young University 296-311-288--895
T5 New Mexico 299-297-301--897
T5 Pepperdine 295-302-300--897
7 Tennessee 307-304-292--903
8 Arizona 305-301-301--907
9 UCLA 296-316-300--912
T10 Vanderbilt 303-297-314--914
T10 Stanford 299-309-306--914
12 UNLV 300-311-320--931
13 California 313-306-315--934
14 Virginia 314-316-305--935
15 Washington 301-319-317--937
T9 Rachel Newren 72-77-68--217
T20 Juli Erekson 77-76-71--224
T23 Natalia Jimenez 71-79-75--225
T36 Daphne Vines 76-79-74--229
T47 Alexis Edwards 77-79-77--233