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Former Utah Women’s State Amateur champ Tess Blair claimed medalist honors at the Big Sky Conference Championship
MOLALLA, Ore. — The Sacramento State women’s golf team claimed the Big Sky Championship for the third time in its last four tries and Tess Blair became the second Hornet to win the individual title on Wednesday at Arrowhead Golf Course.
The Hornets entered the final round with a 3-stroke lead over Northern Arizona but were tested by the Lumberjacks throughout the round. The team’s lead shrunk to 1-stroke with three holes remaining before Sacramento State responded with an eagle, four birdies and seven pars from its four counting scores. That effort gave the Hornets an 8-stroke margin over NAU for the top spot. Sacramento State finished the tournament at 298-304-299-901. Portland State finished third (918) with Idaho (922) moving up one spot to take fourth and Northern Colorado finishing fifth (930).
The Big Sky title is the fourth in school history following wins in 2007, 2017 and 2019. The Hornets also earned a berth into an NCAA Regional and will find out its destination on Wednesday, Apr. 28, on Golf Channel.
Blair is the first Hornet to be the medalist at the Big Sky Championship since Margaux Sheehan won in 2007. The victory was the second of Blair’s career and makes her one of just four Sacramento State women to have multiple individual titles in their career. The second-year player never surrendered her first-place position during the day and won the event by eight shots. Blair was 2-over on the front nine with one birdie and three bogeys. She drew back to 1-over after starting the back side of the course with a birdie on the par-5 10th. However, bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14 took her to 3-over and put the team title in question. Blair ended the tournament in emphatic fashion as she parred the 15th, eagled the par-5 16th, parred No. 17 and birdied the par-5 18th.
Sydney Smith tied for fifth place with rounds of 73-74-77-224. That total is tied for her second lowest in her career and was just one shot off her career best. Smith remained steady through the first nine holes with eight pars and a bogey on the par-4 eighth. Her first rough stretch of the tournament came on the back nine where she had bogeys on the par-5 10th and par-3 12th and 14th as well as a double bogey on the par-4 13th. Standing at 6-over during the round, Smith played her final four holes at 1-under with a birdie on the par-5 16th and three pars.
Corinne Viden surged into a tie for 14th place overall after shooting 74 on Wednesday. Viden parred the first two holes and then birdied the par-4 third. However, she was 3-over at the turn with bogeys on Nos. 5, 6, 8 and 9 (all par 4). A bogey on the par-4 11th took her to 4-over for the round. From there, she played the final seven holes at 2-under with birdies on the par-4 15th and par-5 16th along with five pars.
Jennifer Koga posted her best round of the tournament with a 4-over par 76. She was 2-over at the midway point of the round with a birdie on the par-4 third and bogeys on Nos. 4, 6 and 8. She eventually rose to 5-over following bogeys on the par-4, 11th, par-3 14th and par-4 15th. Koga birdied the par-5 15th and headed to the clubhouse following pars on the final two holes. She tied for 21st overall after shooting 80-78-76-234.
Miki Manta shot 79 during the final round and tied for 40th overall. Manta had three bogeys on the front side of the course (Nos. 1, 3, 7). After five consecutive pars, she had a double bogey on the par-4 13th and then had three more pars. Her first birdie came on the par-4 17th but was immediately followed by a triple bogey on the par-4 18th.
BIG SKY CHAMPIONSHIP
Molalla, Ore. | Arrowhead GC
Par 72 | 6,154 Yards
1. Sacramento State 298-304-299-901
2. Northern Arizona 296-309-304-909
3. Portland State 302-307-309-918
4. Idaho 308-311-303-922
5. Northern Colorado 310-307-313-930
6. Weber State 305-318-310-933
7. Southern Utah 316-311-312-939
8. Eastern Washington 320-314-313-947
9. Montana 320-325-313-958
10. Montana State 320-337-316-973
11. Idaho State 322-323-983
Individual Top Five
1. Tess Blair, SAC, 74-69-72-215
T2. Laura Gerner, UI, 74-74-75-223
T2. Franca Polla, PSU, 73-74-76-223
T2. Ekaterina Malakhova, NAU, 74-72-77-223
T5. Sydney Smith, SAC, 73-74-77-224
T5. Kylie Esh, UM, 76-76-72-224
T5. Klara Kucharova, NAU, 73-78-73-224