Apr 162009
Authors: Justin Warren

The CSU women’s golf team is off to a slow start in the Mountain West Conference championship, as they sit in last place after the first 18 holes.

The Rams concluded Thursday’s first round shooting 26 over par as a team on the 72-par, 6,011 yard Bayonet Black Horse Golf Course in Seaside, Calif.

“This is a golf course where you cannot miss and I think we were missing it in the wrong spots,” head coach Angie Hopkins said. “You have got to be hitting the ball well. When our top players do not play well, we are in trouble.”

CSU sits 13 strokes behind 2008 tournament champion and current leader New Mexico, which shot 13 over par.

TCU and BYU are tied for second, shooting 17 over. The number one team in MWC play, UNLV, sits in the fourth spot with an 18 over par first round performance. Rounding out the top five is Wyoming with a team 21 over par.

The Rams are only two strokes back from catching sixth place San Diego State which is at 24 over after round one.

Wyoming’s Jonelle Martinez is currently at the top of the individual leader board, shooting 2 under par.

Despite a disappointing first round for the Rams, freshman Brianna Espinoza continues to shine for CSU with a first round of 1 over par. Espinoza is the only Ram player currently in the top ten. She is tied for third place among 35 competitors with Jade Bollinger of BYU.

“(Espinoza) played so solid. She had five birdies and four-putted a green,” coach Hopkins said. “She managed her emotions and plugged along. She has the best short game on our team and we can see it paying off.”

Senior Stefanie Ferguson remains the only other Ram golfer in the top 20. Ferguson shot 7 over par to put herself in a three-way tie for the 20th spot.

As for the other CSU golfers, junior Kasey Claussen is in a three-way tie for 23rd spot at eight over while junior Natalie Stone and freshman Melissa Martin both sit in the 31st position after shooting 10 over.

With two rounds left, the Rams still have hope to climb up in the rankings during Friday’s and Saturday’s rounds.

“I think we can move up quite a bit. We all had a good talk and I know they are ready to go,” coach Hopkins said. “They have been out here practicing for the last two hours because they want to play better tomorrow. The field is still tight and it is still anybody’s tournament.”

Friday’s round is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. MT.

Golf beat writer Justin Warren can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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