Eagles Continue Season at Tourney With a Twist

Match play will be featured at a tournament this Thursday and Friday in California

Although the ultimate goal is to get the ball in the cup, there will be an unusual twist to the team competition this week for the Eastern Washington University women’s golf team as it competes in the inaugural Lamkin Grip Match Play Championship Thursday (March 25) and Friday (March 26) at the Cypress Ridge Golf Course in Arroyo Grande, Calif.

Each school will field a team of five golfers, with the No. 1 golfers from each team playing each other, No. 2 vs. No. 2, etc. Eastern’s first-round opponent will be host Cal Poly, with the semifinals/consolation round set for Thursday afternoon at 1 p.m. The finals/consolation round will begin Friday at 8 a.m.

Eastern played on the same course in a tournament last November, but that followed normal stroke-play rules, with a school’s top four individual scores for each round counting in the overall team scoring. The course is 5,923 yards and par is 72.

“This will be a different format than what we usually play,” said Eastern head coach Brenda Howe. “I'm hoping this will allow the girls to stay focused on each individual hole rather than focusing on an overall score. We've been practicing in this format for a couple of weeks to get into the right mindset.”

Howe is hoping her team’s scores will begin to plummet with recent practice time. Following this week, the Eagles have one more regular season tournament before taking part in the Big Sky Conference Championships April 19-21 in Chandler, Ariz.

“All year we've struggled with our short games, and we have been putting in a lot of hours on the chipping greens and putting greens,” she said. “I'm expecting to see our bogeys turn into pars soon. Just in the past couple of weeks, I've seen a huge improvement in our touch around the greens, and I think the pay-off from the hard work is just around the corner.

Most recently, junior Kellie Holmstedt was the top Eastern Washington University finisher March 1-2 in the Fresno State Lexus Classic at the Copper River Country Club in Fresno, Calif. She leads the team with a 79.6 average this season, followed by the 83.6 average of freshman Dana Stapleton. Both have played in all 14 rounds thus far in the 2009-10 season.

“I expect to see Kellie and Dana play well this week and hopefully win at least two of their three matches,” added Howe.

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