September 25, 2007

Eagles Win MDA Invitational

Sept. 25, 2007

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With top-notch consistent play throughout the 54-hole tournament, the Eastern Washington University women's golf team claimed the MDA Invitational title on Tuesday (Sept. 25). The Eagles had four of their five golfers place in the top 10 individually.

Eastern (901, 298-303-300) outlasted Wyoming (906, 311-294-301) for the title. Cal Poly (914, 309-296-309) and UC Riverside (916, 307-300-309) placed third and fourth, respectively.

The last time that Eastern won a tournament came at the Inland Empire Intercollegiate played from Sept. 25-26, 2003. The Eagles outlasted Idaho by 18 shots in that tournament, 909-927.

"I'm obviously really proud of the team as a whole," head coach Marc Hughes said. "We shot really consistent numbers and ended up winning, which was a bonus. Being young, I know there are going to be some bumps along the way, but we are improving and it feels good to win something. Our challenge will be to not allow ourselves to be complacent. We have a difficult tournament at Colorado early next week, and there's some work to get done before we get there.

"We had three first-year players in the lineup, so the future looks good. We have a lot of learning to do, but I like the competitive nature of this group. They are all battling very hard."

Freshman Kellie Holmstedt paced the Eagle golfers with a third-place finish and a score of 223 (73-77-73).

"To say Kellie is performing at a level I didn't expect this early is an understatement," Hughes said. "I was actually considering a redshirt season for her this year which would have qualified me for the `poorest coaching move of the year' award. She just competes and refuses to throw in the towel. She's a gifted athlete who is learning much faster than I ever did. She deserves a lot of credit."

Junior Chloe Nelson was just behind Holmstedt in fifth with a 225 (75-74-76). Tied for seventh was freshman Kristina Gargaro, who shot a 228 (73-75-80), and in a 10th-place stalemate was junior Marli Mikulecky. She had a 229 (77-79-73). Junior Ines Pantoli had a 237 (82-77-78) and finished tied for 34th. Competing as an individual, senior Chelsey Lollar shot a 234 (78-80-76).

UC Riverside's Jennifer Bermingham secured the individual title with a 217 (72-71-74), six shots ahead of Holmstedt. Finishing second was Hannah Brabb of Cal Poly. She had a 221 (76-71-74).

The two-day, three-round tournament was played at Hangman Valley Golf Course in Spokane and was co-hosted by Eastern Washington and Gonzaga. Thirteen teams participated, 11 of which sponsor golf at the NCAA Division I level. Other Big Sky Conference schools participating included Northern Arizona (sixth, 934), Montana State (eighth, 944) and Montana (ninth, 952).

Last year, the Eagles just missed out on winning the title, as their second-place score of 912 was outperformed by Idaho's 908.

Eastern will return to action from Monday-Tuesday (Oct. 1-2) at the Heather Farr Invitational. The Omni Interlocken Resort Golf Club in Broomfield, Colo., will play host to that tournament.

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