Whitman women golfers second in Beaumont

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BEAUMONT, Calif. - The Whitman College women's golf team kicked off the spring portion of its schedule on Sunday with a second-place showing in a five-school battle hosted by the University of Redlands at the East Valley Golf Club in Beaumont, Calif.

Redlands took first with a 350 team score for its top four scorers. Whitman was second with a 364 total, edging Claremont-Mudd-Scripps by three strokes. Occidental and Pomona-Pitzer finished well back with 395 and 442 totals, respectively.

"We had outstanding weather and it was a good opportunity to play a challenging course against teams that are well into their spring schedules," Whitman coach Skip Molitor said.

"Playing this one-day tournament gave us the chance to knock the winter rust from our game and prepare for a two-day event later this week, not to mention our Northwest Conference tournaments in April."

Sophomore Tate Head and first-year teammate Katie Zajicek paced Whitman, placing fifth in the individual scoring with matching 87s.

"We had some jitters at the start and at the finish, carding a quadruple bogey 8 on the first hole and a pair of triple bogey 7s on the last hole, but we played some very solid golf in-between," Molitor said.

"Tate enjoyed an outstanding ball-striking day, hitting six of the first nine greens in regulation and finishing with 11 greens in regulation for the round," Molitor added.

"Katie was our most consistent short-game player and bounced back from a tough start to play the next seven holes in 1-over par."

Catelyn Webber and Elaine Whaley, two more first-year players, shot rounds of 93 and 97 to complete Whitman's team score.

"Catelyn and Elaine both hit the ball well off the tee but encountered some difficulty around East Valley's challenging greens," Molitor said.

The course hosted the 2008 NCAA Division III national championships and is known as one of the most challenging courses in the area, he said.

Occidental's Katie Park was Sunday's medalist with a 77 on a par-72 course that played at 5,800 yards.

Tracy Saracino, playing for Redlands, was second at 78 with Occidental's Tori Leon taking third with a 79.

Caitlin Holland, sophomore, is expected to join the Whitman squad on Tuesday for the start of the two-day, 36-hole SoCal Dutch Invitational at Beaumont's Oak Valley Golf Club.

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