Warriors Dunovant, Miles make history at NWAACC tournament

WWCC golfer Dona Dunovant wins the women's individual title, and Ash Miles the men's, at the championships at Canyon Lakes Monday.

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KENNEWICK - Walla Walla Community College made history here Monday at the Canyon Lakes Golf Course as Warriors captured both the men's and women's individual titles at the season-ending NWAACC Championships.

Sophomore Dona Dunovant defended her women's championship with a second-round score of 80 for a 36-hole total of 152 and a cruise-control victory over Spokane's Alexa Bell, who finished a distant second. Bell shot 83 Monday to finish nine strokes back with a 161 count.

On the men's side, WWCC freshman Ash Miles came from four shots back following Sunday's opening round at Horn Rapids in West Richland to claim the championship on the very last hole. Miles' up-and-down par on 18 gave him a two-under-par 70 for the day and a 36-hole final score of 143, the only player in the 54-player field to break par for the tournament.

Spokane's Alex Pounds, who was in fourth place and three strokes off the lead after an even-par 72 at Horn Rapids on Sunday, came in second at even-par 144 after making bogey at 18 for second straight round of par 72. Alex Mroz of Bellevue was another shot back at 145 after shooting 71 Monday, and Andrew Roller of Spokane and Jeff Neeley of Skagit Valley tied for fourth place at 147.

First-day leader Tyler McDougall of Bellevue faded back into the back with an 80 Monday that left him at 149, six shots off the lead.

"It's never happened before in the league's history," said a proud WWCC coach Mike Rostollan of his school's dual champions. "It was really an exciting time for our program."

Despite their efforts, Dunovant and Miles didn't have enough support to get either of the Warrior teams in title contention.

The women's team finished fourth, two positions better than during the regular season, with a 546 score for 36 holes. The men's team, which finished third during the regular year, slid to fifth with a 624 tally.

As expected, Spokane claimed both team championships. The Sasquatch men finished at 592, which was 18 strokes better than second-place Bellevue, and the Spokane women shot 500 for two rounds and won by 13 strokes over Bellevue.

The men's team standings were Spokane 592, Bellevue 610, Olympic 617, Skagit Valley 619, Walla Walla 624, Green River 634, Southwest Oregon 649, Columbia Basin 658, Treasure Valley 659 and Grays Harbor 749. For the women, it was Spokane 500, Bellevue 513, Skagit Valley 517, Walla Walla 546, Olympic 560, CBC 586, Centralia 618 and Treasure Valley 679.

Walla Walla's other two women - Jamie Robison and Jordan Simpkins - shot 97 and 103, respectively, on the more challenging Canyon Lakes course. Robison capped her Warrior career with a 191 tournament and Simpkins finished at 203.

"They both played well considering the course," Rostollan said.

Dunovant was not at her best Monday, the coach said. She didn't have to be.

"She started her round with a couple of bogeys and still added to her lead," Rostollan said. "She was playing with the other leaders, and they were not playing very well.

"Dona is capable of shooting four or five shots better on that course. But when the people around you who are supposed to be applying the pressure aren't, you get to freewheeling a little bit. Dona was pretty much on cruise control, but she has proved herself over the past two years as being a cut above day in and day out."

Bellevue's Alyanna Herring, who was just two strokes behind Dunovant following Sunday's play, faded with an 89 on Monday and wound up third in the individual standings at 163, 11 strokes off the pace. Kelsey Berg of Spokane shot 77-90-167 to finish fourth and Jackie Afualo of Skagit Valley was fifth at 81-87-168.

Miles, a Tri-Cities native who grew up playing the Horn Rapids and Canyon Lakes courses, was three-over for the day going to the eighth hole, then got hot. He birdied the eighth and made par at the ninth for a front-side 38, then made birdies on 10, 11, 13 and 15 to surge to the top of the leader board.

Miles' three-putt bogey on 16 allowed Pounds to draw even going to the final two holes. Both players parred the 18th, setting up a dramatic 18th-hole finish.

"Ash hit his drive right down the middle and Pounds was off to the right," Rostollan said. "The 18th is not long, but the second shot is critical and Pounds hit his over the flag and over the back side of the green. He was in tall grass and on a down slope, the wrong place to be."

Miles, seeing that Pounds was in trouble, hit his second shot to the front fringe of the green.

Pounds' third shot was still short of the green, and he had to settle for a 4-footer for a bogey. Miles then chipped within five feet of the hole and rammed home his par putt for the victory.

"It was a very exciting, very clutch 5-footer for par," Rostollan said.

"Ash had been looking forward to this tournament since the day he came to school last September, and he was ready. He didn't always play well during the season, but he made the most of it this last weekend."

Miles became the Warriors' first individual champion since Adam Alldrege in 2006 and the school's fifth men's medalist overall.

Walla Walla's other men's scores saw Eric Wright finish 76-82-156, Josh Scothorne 80-79-159 and Mike Ervin 82-83-165 for WWCC's four Monday counters. Cory Spencer finished 81-84-165 and Drew Morgan 88-83-171 for the non-counters.

Miles, Scothorne and Morgan will form the nucleus of next year's squad, Rostollan said.

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