If the trend continues, the North Dakota women's golf team is primed to play their best golf of the season this week at the Boulder Creek Golf Club. In each of the past two seasons, the Fighting Hawks have put together their best scores of those respective campaigns at the Big Sky Championship.Boulder City, Nev. --
This is the second-consecutive year that the league's 12 teams will embark on Boulder City, Nev., to chase a Big Sky title and automatic NCAA Tournament berth.
For head coach Natalie Martinson, her squad brings with it experience and good memories from the track it will try to tame when the 54-hole event begins with first-round play on Friday.
"This is our fourth time here at Boulder Creek overall, so I think our players are getting more and more comfortable with the layout and how the course plays," she said. "We've proven that we can handle the pressure of playing at conference tournaments and I think our team will carry the positive results from last year's event into this one."
Those positive results that Martinson speaks of were the handful of Division I program records the Fighting Hawks set last season at the venue located just over 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas.
In the second round, UND set the program's single-round record with a 301 (+13), then backed that up with a 305 in the final round to set the 54-hole scoring mark at 921 (+57).
Sophomore Jenna Janu and senior Sadie Martin also established UND's DI individual 54-hole scoring mark as both players carded a 223 (+7) last season to tie for 21st. The duo both shot second-round 73's to post the lowest single-round scores at a conference tournament as well.
Current senior captains Dani DelGreco and Alexis Guggisberg both contributed to that record-setting weekend and posted scores in the 70's in their final two rounds, respectively.
Those two will join Janu, who owns the team's top stroke average this season at 77.88, junior Haily Abel and sophomore Hanna Peterson in Martinson's lineup.
"Having those captains here, who have experience on this course, will certainly help our team," Martinson added. "They both played well here at last year's championship and I expect them to do the same again this time around."
Abel played as an individual at the Battle at Boulde Creek II earlier this season to get her first action on the course, while Peterson has six rounds in Nevada under her belt, so all five in Martinson's lineup bring some familiarity with them into the tournament.
"I feel like we have a strong lineup this season that is capable of keeping this trend going where we are playing our best golf at the end of the year," Martinson added. "Our spring schedule has been tough, but I think that it has prepared us well for this week's championship."
The Fighting Hawks will play a practice round on Thursday before competition play starts the next morning.
UND Finishes at the Big Sky Championship
2016 (11th; 921, +57)
2015 (11th; 967, +103)
2014 (9th; 1,030, +166)
2013 (10th; 995, + 131)
-- UND --
Fighting Hawks look to tame Boulder Creek