Chandler, Ariz. - Head coach Natalie Martinson came to the Ocotillo Golf Resort wanting to see her team improve from its initial showing a year ago at the Big Sky Championship and her North Dakota women's golf team got started in the right direction.
UND's team score of 327 (+39) bettered its three team scores from its inaugural Big Sky Championship in 2013 on the same par-72, 6,276-yard layout. The total also put the team much closer to the pack going into round two.
Portland State's A Ram Choi has the Vikings in the lead in the team race after posting the low-round of the day with a 70 (-2). PSU (299, +11) leads Sacramento State (304, +16) by five strokes. Montana State (305, +17) is in third, while Montana (307, +19) is in fourth.
Last season, UND was also in 10th place in the team standings, but 29 shots out of a tie for fourth-place. This year, only 14 strokes separates the Green and White from host Northern Arizona, who is in fifth after a 313 (+25).
Sophomore Sadie Martin paced the team with a 76 (+4), while junior Mikayla Kromy joined her in the 70's with an opening 18-hole score of 79 (+7). Freshman Alexis Guggisberg got her round going on the back nine, firing a 37 (+1) to salvage an 83.
"We got off to a slow start, but settled down on the back nine, which I think has some trickier holes. So, that's a positive we can take into tomorrow," Martinson said. "We got a good score from Sadie, who was consistent all day. Mikki and Alexis both played strong on the back nine to get their rounds going, so we should have some momentum to take into round two."
Martin's 76 (+4) was her best round of the spring and topped any round by a UND golfer at last year's Big Sky Championship. She birdied both her first and last holes of the day and is tied for ninth overall heading into the second round.
"I started off with a birdie, so that got things going for me," Martin said. "I did make a couple of bogeys that I could have avoided, but I was happy with how I played. I was seeking the pin, made a lot of two-putts and some long ones as well, so that felt good."
Kromy and Guggisberg both shots 37's on the back nine after respective scores of 42 and 46 on the front side. Kromy had birdies on No. 7 and No. 15 and her first one came after taking a triple bogey on the sixth hole. Kromy is tied for 23rd.
Guggisberg managed just one par in her opening nine holes, but collected herself on the back, starting that stretch with five consecutive pars. She birdied her lone hole of the day on No. 16.
UND will play with Idaho State again in the second round with tee times set to start at 6:30 a.m. MT.
Big Sky Championship Team Scores
|1||Portland State||299 (+11)|
|2||Sacramento State||304 (+16)|
|3||Montana State||305 (+17)|
|5||Northern Arizona||313 (+25)|
|6||Eastern Washington||314 (+26)|
|7||Southern Utah||317 (+29)|
|8||Weber State||318 (+30)|
|9||Northern Colorado||319 (+31)|
|10||North Dakota||327 (+39)|
|11||Idaho State||347 (+59)|
|t9||Sadie Martin||76 (+4)|
|t23||Mikayla Kromy||79 (+7)|
|t42||Alexis Guggisberg||83 (+11)|
|t49||Amanda Fairweather||89 (+17)|
|52||Dani DelGreco||90 (+18)|
-- UND --