Eastern to see a few familiar teams in third-straight year at Oakcreek Country Club
After the spring season opener that featured seven of 11 conference teams, the Eastern Washington University women’s golf team will again have an opportunity to size up some of the Big Sky competition this weekend at the Red Rocks Invitational in Sedona, Ariz.
One of eight Big Sky schools participating at this event, EWU will play 18 holes on Saturday (March 2) and another 18 on Sunday (March 3) at the Oakcreek Country Club - a par-72, 6,089-yard course.
This is the third-consecutive year EWU has competed in the Red Rocks Invite. In 2012, Eastern finished 15th out of 20 teams with a 36-hole effort of 673 (335-338). In 2011, the Eags were 16th out of 18 with a similar team total of 677 (331-346).
So far this season, EWU has averaged 323 strokes per round in five 54-hole tournaments. This will be Eastern’s first 36-hole event of the year.
A total of 21 squads will be competing in Sedona, including host Northern Arizona, as well as Idaho State, Montana State, Weber State, North Dakota and Southern Utah. All six of those teams also participated in The Lumberjack at Ocotillo two weeks ago, where EWU finished eighth out of 11 teams. Eastern posted a lower score than North Dakota and Idaho State, but was narrowly edged by Montana State and Northern Colorado, which came in sixth and seventh, respectively.
While EWU will look to improve its finish among the Big Sky schools, the Eagles will also be competing against a number of non-conference rivals, as the Red Rocks Invite represents one of the biggest fields EWU will see this season. The rest of the field includes British Columbia, Cal Poly, CSU Bakersfield, CSU Northridge, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, Oakland, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Grand Canyon, Northern Kentucky, South Dakota, Toledo, Valley and Xavier.
Eastern Michigan returns as the defending champion from 2012, while NAU won the team title the previous two years.
EWU will send freshman Marissa Borja, sophomore Caitilin Rice, junior Sara Callagy and seniors Jayme Carbon and Morgan Lee to Sedona. This will actually be Lee’s debut event for the 2012-13 season, as a demanding academic schedule as nursing major prevented her from traveling this fall.
But after an impressive qualifying round, head coach Brenda Howe is anxious to have one of her veterans back on the greens. Lee averaged 81.3 strokes per round in 2012, with a season-low round of 76.
So far in Eastern's five events this year, Borja has led the team with a 79.7 stroke average. She shot 244 (79-87-78) at The Lumberjack to finish in an exact tie with teammate Rice, who had rounds of 90, 76 and 78.
Weather in Sedona is expected to be sunny, with a few clouds on Sunday, but temperatures in the high 60s.