May 12, 2012

Women's golf saves best day for last

By JORDAN FREEMYER
UNCBears.com

ERIE, Colo. – The Northern Colorado women's golf team concluded its season by shooting a 306 (+18) in the final round of the 2012 NCAA West Regional Saturday at Colorado National Golf Club.

The Big Sky-champion Bears finished the tournament with a 77-over par 941 in 23rd place. UCLA and LSU tied atop the leaderboard at 873 (+9). They, along with Pepperdine, Colorado, Baylor, Stanford, North Carolina and Oklahoma advanced from the regional to the NCAA Championships later this month.

 "We knew even if we played a great round today we wouldn't make the top eight," Northern Colorado head coach Brandon White said. "So our goal today was just to play a respectable round, have some fun and enjoy being in the NCAA Regionals with some of the best teams in the country.

"Just end on a good note and be able to walk out with our heads high and proud that we were a part of a regional tournament."

Senior Ali Nelson shot a 1-over par 73 in the final round of her college career, the best score by a Northern Colorado player on Saturday. She finished the tournament with a three-round score of 242 (+26) in 117th place among individuals.

"As a senior, that's great to see her go out with a really solid round after struggling the first two days," White said.

The Bears' other senior, Chelsea Silvers, shot an 83 (+11) in the final round of her college career Saturday. She finished the regional in 112th place with a 240 (+24).

"Chelsea didn't have her best round today," White said. "But she did a good job battling, she got off to kind of a rough start and she battled back and had a pretty respectable round going into the last hole, and she kind of hit a bad shot there and put it in the water."

Silvers shot a 7 after going in the water on the par-3 9th hole, her final hole of the day.

Junior Hannah McNeley also shot her best round of the tournament, a 3-over 75, thanks in no small part to back-to-back birdies on Nos. 6 and 7. McNeley shot a 238 (+22) for the tournament, tied with Missouri State's Emma Clegg for 110th place among individuals.

"Hannah McNeley played great today," White said. "A real solid round for her."

Junior Carleigh Silvers matched McNeley's 75 on Saturday and was NC's highest finisher on the individual leaderboard tying for 56th with an 11-over 227 for the three rounds.

Libby Avery completed the Bears' effort with an 85 (+13) on Saturday. She finished 121st overall at the Regional with a 253 (+37).

"I'm really proud of all the girls," White said. "They all did great this week, got some great experience for the juniors that'll be coming back next year. They'll be the core of our team next year, being seniors and hopefully they can take this experience and have a great year next year. We're going to be trying to repeat as conference champions."