ANGOLA, Ind. - For the Whitman College women's golf team, Wednesday's second round of the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament proved to be a bit more challenging than Tuesday's opening round.
With their team score rising by 17 strokes, the Missionaries slipped from sixth to 12th place as the 19-team tournament hit the midway point at Zollner Golf Course in Angola, Ind.
Whitman's Kelly Sweeney, who was 1-over par and tied for second after round one, was one of the Missionaries who struggled on the 5,990-yard course as the second round played out.
Sweeney, a first-year player, shot 81 on her second trip around the links, dropping into a four-way tie for ninth place in the individual scoring at 154.
Catherine Wagner, playing for Wisconsin-Eau Claire, was the only player who beat par Wednesday. Her 1-under 71 gives her the 36-hole lead at 149.
Tied for second at 151 are Taylor Beaty (DePauw, 78-73) and Georgiana Salant (Williams, 72-79).
Methodist University, which has won every national title since NCAA Division III started its own tournament in 2000, shot its second consecutive 310 team score on Wednesday to slip into first place at 620. DePauw trails by one stroke and Wisconsin-Eau Claire by two.
After carding a 316 team score (top four individuals) on Tuesday, Whitman posted a 333 in the second round to settle into 12th place with a 649 total. Catelyn Webber (82), Katie Zajicek (83) and Elaine Whaley (87) completed the Missionary team score, while Tate Head struggled to a 97.
Both Webber and Zajicek stayed steady in the round two, shooting just one stroke higher than the day before. Webber is at 163 for the tournament, nine strokes behind Sweeney. Zajicek has a 165 total, two strokes in front of Whaley. Head's 36-hole total is 182.
"After shooting our second lowest round of the spring on Tuesday, our fortunes went the other way in round two, especially on the back nine," Whitman coach Skip Molitor said. "Today was one of our higher rounds of the spring. We had three holes on the back where we had at least three double-bogeys or worse.
"We dropped down the leaderboard a bit, but we weren't alone," Molitor added. "With windy afternoon conditions, our playing partners from Williams and St. Olaf's also struggled. Their team scores were 16 strokes higher, which was just one shot better than our 17-stroke difference."
Whitman heads to today's third round just two strokes out of 10th place, and the Missionaries are just 13 strokes out of the sixth-place spot they held after the opening round.
"We are in position going into the second half of the tournament to make a significant move back up the leaderboard," Molitor said. "Our playing partners Thursday are Gustavus Adolphus and George Fox, the two teams we trail by just one and two strokes.
"We're getting comfortable competing against highly ranked teams, and Thursday will give us another chance to do that," he added.
"Gustavus was the runner-up to Methodist the past two years, and George Fox has been ranked in the top 10 all season. I'm confident our team will go into Thursday's round determined to get back to playing its best golf."
After making bogey on six of her first seven holes on Wednesday, Sweeney "righted the ship and competed very well the rest of the way, shooting a 39 on the back nine," Molitor said.
Webber's second round was split between 40 on the front and 42 on the back. "Had she made a five-foot putt on her last hole, her scores would have been identical to the 40-41 split she had in the first round," Molitor said. "Catelyn remains very steady for us."
Zajicek knocked down a "nice birdie on the par-5 No. 7 hole and made the turn in 39," Molitor said. "She continues to show signs of getting her game back to where it was in the fall."
Whaley made a pair of birdie putts on her front nine, helping offset a triple-bogey eight on the par-5 No. 5 hole. But after making the turn in 40, she "unfortunately fell victim to two double-bogeys and a triple-bogey on the back," Molitor said.
Head struggled through one of her toughest rounds of the season, he noted, but "I look for her to bounce back with two good rounds and finish what has been an outstanding season for her."
Head, Zajicek named to NGCA All-West team
ANGOLA, Ind. - Two members of the Whitman College women's golf team, junior Tate Head and sophomore Katie Zajicek, have been named to the National Golf Coaches Association's All-West Region Team.
The NGCA announced its 10-player all-region teams during an NCAA Division III awards banquet Wednesday night following the second round of the national championship tournament in Angola, Ind.
According to Whitman coach Skip Molitor, an NGCA awards committee selected the all-region teams based on a variety of golf statistics, including stroke average and top-five finishes.
For Zajicek, season highlights include medalist honors at last fall's Whitman Invitational and a school-record even-par 72 at the Concordia Invitational.
After posting Whitman's low score at the Northwest Conference Fall Classic, Head led the Missionaries to victory at the NWC Championship Tournament in April.
The NGCA, founded in 1983, represents women's collegiate golf coaches.
The association, which was formed to encourage the playing of women's golf, has a membership of nearly 500 coaches throughout the United States.