September 26, 2006

Eastern Newcomer Finishes Second in Tournament

Sept. 26, 2006

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Falling short of championships but improving both individually and as a team, the Eastern Washington University women's golf team finished second at the Inland Empire Women's Intercollegiate Golf Tournament which concluded Tuesday (Sept. 26) at Hangman Valley Golf Course.

Mikulecky, a transfer from Mississppi State who is from Osoyoos, B.C., came one stroke from winning medalist honors in the 54-hole tournament. Eastern finished four strokes behind Idaho for the team title, a week after placing 12th out of 17 teams at the Salbasgeon Suites Invitational in Corvallis, Ore.

Eastern finished ahead of fellow Big Sky members Montana and Montana State, giving the Eagles an 8-0 record in head-to-head competition within the league.

"We were better this week than last and we achieved what we set out to do," said EWU head coach Marc Hughes. "We had a chance to win going into the last round which is a success in and of itself. A final round is always a roll of the dice and we were in it until the last hole. We lost the tournament by four strokes and our four counters were four over on the 18th hole today. We have to figure out how to finish stronger, but in the end, I'm happy with a second place finish. Idaho is very strong this year and they have one of the best coaches on the west coast."

Kelly Nakashima of Idaho came from six shots off the pace heading into Tuesday's final round to shoot a final-round 1-under-par 71 to claim medalist honors at 219. That was good for a one-shot victory over second-round leader Mikulecky, who shot a final-round 78 to finish at 220. Nakashima birdied three of the final six holes while Mikulecky had two bogeys and a double-bogey in the last six holes.

"Marli played awesome and handled herself very well during the last round," said Hughes. "She finished second to a great player who had a great final round. I'm very proud of her and we're lucky she's here. She had never really been in an overnight-lead situation before so she should feel very good about her tournament."

Other Eastern finishers included Sheena Prante (10th; 229), Chloe Nelson (14th; 231), Eva Yoe (16th; 232) and Katie Kofmehl (29th; 239).

"I'm also very pleased with Sheena's efforts to this point," added Hughes. "She's a senior and playing like one. Chloe and Eva didn't have their best tournament but had enough fight in them to keep us competitive. So they deserve kudos as well."

Idaho, with a two-shot lead over EWU for the team title entering Tuesday, shot a 308 to finish at 908 and four shots ahead of EWU's 912. Gonzaga, eight shots off the lead and six shots out of second after 36 holes, shot a 305 to take third at 913, one shot behind the Eagles.

Eastern returns to action Oct. 2-3 at the Heather Farr Invitational in Boulder, Colo.

"We're off to one of our better starts in my nine-year tenure at Eastern which makes things fun," added Hughes. "We are in the middle of a strenuous schedule and I need to get more out of everyone on the team, but things are looking very positive to this point."

 

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