Eagles Make Season Debut at Circling Raven Collegiate Invitational

With five healthy players, Eastern hits a familiar course Monday and Tuesday in Worley, Idaho

For the second year in a row, the Eastern Washington University women's golf team will open its season at the Circling Raven Collegiate Invitational, held Monday (Sept. 12) and Tuesday (Sept. 13) at the Circling Raven Golf Course in Worley, Idaho. The event, hosted by Gonzaga, will feature 22 schools from all over the country, including seven of nine Big Sky Conference teams.

The Eagles will play 36 holes on Monday, followed by 18 on Tuesday. The course is 6,111 yards - Par 72. Last year at this same event, Eastern finished 16th out of 20 teams with a three-round total of 952 (321-308-323). Its second-round score of 308 was the second-lowest round recorded by the team throughout the entire 2010 campaign.

"We are excited to get out on the course and start the new season," said EWU head coach Brenda Howe, who enters her third year at the helm of the program. "We have a pretty small roster this year, but the upside of that is everyone, from our veterans down to our youngest member, will get a lot of experience."

Following the 2010 season, Eastern lost four-year letterwinner and captain Kellie Holmstedt to graduation. Holmstedt was an All-Big Sky second team selection in 2008 and a four-time Big Sky All-Academic honoree. She had led the team in 16 of 20 events over the last two seasons, and had two top-15 finishes at the Big Sky Championships.

Although Holmstedt will be a difficult player to replace, Howe is confident in the abilities of her returning upperclassmen.

"With Kellie leaving, we have definitely had a few changes in the leadership roles on this team," said Howe. "We will now be looking to Jayme Carbon and Morgan Lee to kind of take over the reins. Both players got a lot of good experience last season, so I am confident they can step up and lead the team."

Carbon and Lee are both entering their junior seasons with the Eagles. Carbon finished either first or second on the squad in seven of nine events in the 2010-11 campaign. She averaged 80.9 strokes per round - the second-best on the squad, and earned her first-career top-10 finish after firing a two-round total of 152 (77-75) at the Shocker Invitational.

Lee competed in seven of nine events during her sophomore season. She finished the year with an 84.0 stroke average. Her best outing came at the Wyoming Cowgirl Classic, where she shot a three-round total of 243 (84-84-75) to finish second on the Eagle squad.

Howe also welcomed back three other letterwinners from a year ago in Sara Callagy, Kylie Ray and Neddy Martinez. Ray, however, will be out for the Fall season due to injury.

Rounding out the six-person roster is freshman Caitilin Rice (pronounced CAWCH-leen). Rice was a four-year letterwinner out of Nathan Hale High School in Seattle, Wash. She competed in the WIAA State Championship for four-consecutive years, finishing in the top 10 in 2009, 2010 and 2011. As a senior, Rice shot an impressive 149 (74-74) to win the 2010 Metro Golf Championship by 12 strokes.

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