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Yongyuan Ties for Third, Secures Big Sky Honor; Thunderbirds Shoot Up Leaderboard to Finish Sixth


By Bryson Lester, Director of Strategic Communication at Southern Utah University


LAS CRUCES, N.M. — The Thunderbirds had an incredibly strong finish to the New Mexico State Aggie Invitational on Wednesday, as the team moved from from tied for 11th to sixth place, Chanikan (Pluem) Yongyuan secured her third-straight top-five finish and the freshman was named Big Sky Women’s Golfer of the Week following the third and final round at New Mexico State Golf Course.

Yongyuan finished in a tie for third, carding a 216 (71, 72, 73) over the three days of action in New Mexico. She secured a victory in her first collegiate tournament and finished in fourth place in her second. Following the round, Yongyuan was named Big Sky Women’s Golfer of the Week, which is the second time she’s earned the honor already this season.

Junior Kamonwan (Poy) Prasurtwong had a strong performance on Wednesday, carding a two-under 70 to shoot up the leaderboard and finish in a tie for 23rd. After shooting a 78 on Monday and a 77 on Tuesday, Prasurtwong was able to finish strong and was second in the field for Southern Utah.

Kyla Smith finished play in a tie for 27th, just one shot behind Prasurtwong. She shot a 75 on Wednesday to end play at 226 (71, 80, 75).

Launa Wilson finished fourth for the T-Birds and in a tie for 59th in the field, with a three-round score of 235 (78, 83, 74). Lindsay Aleman finished fifth for SUU with a 239 (78, 83, 78).

As a team the Thunderbirds shot a 292, which was the lowest round they shot all week. That score brought their total to 902 (298, 312, 292) which jumped them from a tie for 11th on Tuesday to sixth place at the end of play on Wednesday.

“We played some really good golf today,” SUU head coach Richard Church said. “I’m proud of the way the team bounced back from yesterday and closed the tournament out strong.”

Playing as individuals for the Thunderbirds, Tori Thomas shot a 242 (79, 85, 78) and Lexi Hamel scored a 249 (88, 80, 81).  

UTEP claimed the team victory on Wednesday, scoring a 879 (290, 290, 299). NMSU’s Dominique Galloway and and California Baptist’s Erica Wang tied for the individual victory, shot shooting a 215.

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