Rachel Newren shot a 2-under 70 in the final round of the Las Vegas Founders Collegiate Showdown to earn a 16th-place finish. The Cougars had their best round of the tournament with a 6-over 294. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
LAS -- The BYU women's golf team shot a 6-over 294 Wednesday in the third round of the Las Vegas Founders Collegiate Showdown to finish in 14th place and conclude its fall season.
The Cougars' 294 was the fourth-lowest score of the day at the par-72 Anthem Country Club and a 12-stroke improvement from Tuesday's 306. Junior Rachel Newren fell under par for the first time of the tournament with a 2-under 70 and secured a tie for 16th, her second top-20 finish of the season.
"We played a little better today, but it unfortunately didn't help us much in the standings," BYU head coach Sue Nyhus said. "We got going, but we got going about two rounds too late."
BYU played in its first tournament since Oct. 12 after Coach Nyhus gave her team a break to focus on academics, and she said she thinks the long layoff may have led to a slow start.
Second-ranked UCLA easily maintained its lead to secure a 27-stroke victory over Kent State, and No. 3 Pepperdine, Arizona and No. 12 UNLV rounded out the top five. Hannah Jun from UCLA took individual medalist honors with a 10-under 206.
The Cougars' progress on the final day was highlighted by junior Danielle von Arnim's 4-over 76, a six-shot improvement from the previous round, and sophomore Ashley Childers' 1-over 73. Nyhus said she was happy with the way Childers and von Arnim rebounded to contribute to the team's better score in Round 3.
Sophomore Juli Wightman didn't play as well as she could have, Nyhus said, but her scores of 76-75-75 still counted for the team and landed her in 44th place in the 83-person field.
"To keep it close even on a bad day is a quality of a great player," Nyhus said of Wightman.
Also playing for BYU were junior Alexis Edwards and freshman Alana Maiello, who played as an individual in her first collegiate tournament.
After winning the Oregon State Women's Invitational to begin the fall season, the Cougars slipped to seventh, 11th and 14th in their following tournaments, leading Nyhus to say her team has a lot to work on over the winter.
"We started strong and we finished with a good round, but we really struggled the last half of the season," Nyhus said. "It was a disappointing second half of the season. I think we got sloppy and lazy on simple things that we have control over, like posture and ball position, and we'll have to work hard on that before the spring."
Nyhus said BYU's low finish in Las Vegas put them on the regional bubble heading into the break, and the team will need to pick up important head-to-head victories in the early spring schedule to be a solid choice for regional play.
The Cougars will wait nearly four months before returning to action Feb. 21-22, 2006 at the Miccosukee Women's Golf Championship in Miami.
Fin. School Score
1 UCLA 279-285-276--840 (-24)
2 Kent State 288-299-280--867 (+3)
3 Pepperdine 288-291-291--870 (+6)
4 Arizona 285-291-296--872 (+8)
5 UNLV 291-290-293--874 (+10)
6 Arkansas 294-295-293--882 (+18)
7 Southern Methodist 307-285-291--883 (+19)
T8 Missouri 299-301-292--892 (+28)
T8 Oregon 292-303-297--892 (+28)
10 Notre Dame 299-295-300--894 (+30)
T11 Colorado State 295-304-300--899 (+35)
T11 UC Irvine 299-302-298--899 (+35)
13 TCU 308-297-295--900 (+36)
14 BYU 304-306-294--904 (+40)
15 Oklahoma 305-312-313--930 (+66)
16 Eastern Washington 317-316-326--959 (+95)
BYU Individual Results
Fin. Golfer Score
T16 Rachel Newren 72-75-70--217 (+1)
T44 Juli Wightman 76-75-75--226 (+10)
61 Ashley Childers 81-78-73--232 (+16)
62 Danielle von Arnim 75-82-76--233 (+17)
71 Alexis Edwards 82-78-80--240 (+24)
T82 Alana Maiello* 85-85-89--259 (+43)
*competed as an individual