CLARKSTON — The Whitman College women’s golf team surged to a commanding 26-stroke lead after round one of the Warrior Invitational at the Clarkston Country Club today.
Shooting a team score of 326 in the five-score format, the Missionaries survived fog and cool weather conditions to lead the pack.
Host Lewis-Clark State posted a team score of 352, followed by College of Idaho at 354 to sit in second and third, respectively.
Juniors Catelyn Webber, Katie Zajicek and Elaine Whaley recorded the top scores for the Missionaries, carding 79, 80 and 81, respectively.
Webber, an all-NWC first team selection a year ago, responded well to a tough start — a bogey and double bogey — by recording a birdie 2 on the par 3 fourth hole, on her way to hitting 10 greens, and shooting 39 on the front, followed by a 40 on the back nine. Her 79 was the top individual score of the round.
Zajicek, all-region a year ago, played a 1-over-par 37 on the back nine after carding a 7-over-par 43 on the front. Zajicek needed only 29 putts and had several nice up-and-downs to survive a round in which she hit only four greens in regulation.
Whaley, second team all-NWC a year ago, also fired a birdie on a par three, as she was only 4-over-par heading to the 17th tee. A pair of double bogies on the last two holes was all that stood between her and the first-round lead.
Kelly Sweeney and Caitlin Holland both shot 86 to complete the scoring for the Missionaries.
Coach Skip Molitor was more than happy to have the huge first-place margin after the opening round.
“It is unusual to have two teams the caliber of LCSC and College of Idaho both posting unusually high team scores”, said Molitor. “The course is penal, with treacherous greens and plenty of water, and out-of-bounds stakes, but both of these programs are tested at the national tournament level, so we expect them to come back with strong showings tomorrow.
“It is the halfway mark (of the tournament) and it is important for us to continue to play well tomorrow, but I was impressed with how our ladies handled the inclement conditions, especially after some early double bogies.”
Also competing in the Warrior Invitational are Whitworth, Northwest Nazarene and Lethbridge Universities.
The women’s final round teed off at 10 a.m. this morning.