April 11, 2012
The University of Montana shot 295, its lowest single-round total of the season, to jump 11 spots and finish the Wyoming Cowgirl Classic tied in seventh place Wednesday. Freshman Tara Green led the Grizzlies with a sixth-place individual finish at the three-day event held at the Ocotillo Golf Course in Chandler, Ariz.
Montana's (310-306-295) three-round score of 911 is the lowest 54-hole score this season for the Griz.
"We have a lot of experience on this course," said Emily Milberger. "We came out with a mindset today that we were going to have a really good round."
Green (74-73-73--220) and senior Ashli Helstrom (74-73-78--225) were the top finishers for the Griz but it was a full team effort that brought Montana to life in its third and final round.
Junior Olivia Weber matched her season low round shooting an even-par 72 in her final round. Weber was two-under after four holes but bogeyed on her fifth and sixth hole to bring her even. She seesawed between even and one-under the rest of the round. Weber had four birdies in the third round which was three more than she had in the first two rounds combined.
Senior Lauren Howell (81-86-75--242) and sophomore Natalie Beard (84-83-75--242) each made strong comebacks shooting just three-over-par in their final rounds. Both players finished the 128-player tournament in 94th place.
"We didn't play as well as we could have as a team in the first couple of rounds, and we were a little down on ourselves," continued Milberger. "Our third round is a huge confidence boost heading into the conference tournament.
"It was exciting to see how we came back."
Green finished just three strokes behind Julie Shutler of Sacramento State who was the highest finishing Big Sky golfer shooting 217 after three rounds.
Iowa (289-301-294--884) reclaimed the top spot after falling behind to Colorado State in the second round but it was Brianna Espinoza of Colorado State who took home the individual honors with a 54-hole score of (68-68-72)208. Espinoza's eight-under-par performance set the record for the tournament's lowest individual score ever, surpassing 213 (-3) shot by Britney Yada of Portland State in 2011.
Montana will head back to Chandler Apr. 22-24 to play on the very same course, this time for the Big Sky Conference Championships.
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