Apr 172011
 
Authors: Kyle Grabowski

The CSU women’s golf team finished the Mountain West Conference Championships in sixth place out of seven teams, shooting 25 strokes over par for the tournament.

Texas Christian University won the tournament despite trailing the University of Nevada-Las Vegas by three strokes entering Sunday’s final round.

“They (the Rams) played good, just everybody else played good too,” CSU head coach Angie Hopkins said. “We’re just not at the level of those other teams right now.”

CSU freshman Betsy Kelly tied for second place in the final individual standings, three strokes under par and tied with Brigham Young’s Kelsey Vines. UNLV’s Therese Koelbaek, the 2011 MWC women’s golfer of the year, won the tournament by four strokes to finish at -7.

“It was really shocking. I didn’t go in thinking at all that I would be able to do that well,” Kelly said. “As a freshman, it’s just shocking to me that I took second.”

Kelly shot one under par on the first day, which tied her for fourth place at the time, and then hit an even par in the second round before closing out the tournament with a -2 to finish at -3.

“My short game really came through, and I think that’s what made me place so well,” she said. “Through that
entire last round I just played it shot by shot and didn’t feel any pressure.”

The Rams closed out the opening round tied for fourth in the team standings, but dropped to fifth on Friday and finished Saturday’s final round in sixth. Despite the descending position, Hopkins said her team played better as the tournament went on.

“The other teams just played better,” she said. “We had some encouraging things happen, but you can’t control what the other person does.”

Junior Brianna Espinoza finished the conference tournament tied for 15th at 6, but may still get to continue her season in the NCAA Regional. Espinoza was named to the all-conference team for the first time in her career Saturday, and has a chance to be invited to regionals as an individual competitor.

Each of the NCAA Regions (west, central, and east) invites 24 teams and six individual golfers and, by coach Hopkins’ calculations, Espinoza is fifth on the list of golfers that would be invited.

“It just depends on who wins their conference as a team,” Hopkins said.

Women’s Golf Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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