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NAU Closes Out Fall Season with 17th-Place Finish in South Carolina

NAU's Sofia Anokhina & Graduate Assistant Coach Langley Vannoy
NAU's Sofia Anokhina & Graduate Assistant Coach Langley Vannoy

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – The Lumberjack golf team recorded its best team score of the tournament during third-round action from the 2016 Palmetto Intercollegiate, producing a 22-over-par 310 mark on the Turtle Point Golf Course today.

NAU finished the event alone in 17th-place at 85-over 949.

"At the end of the day, we have to perform better and we have to post lower golf scores," said Head Coach Brad Bedortha. "Overall, though, I thought we played pretty well today. Kaitlyn Saum battled back, and Sofia Anokhina played very well all day; she was spot on and it was fun to watch."

Best round Tuesday for the Lumberjacks belonged to Anokhina, who shot a 1-over 73 and finished the tournament tied for 61st-place on the individual leaderboard (19-over 235). The native of Moscow, Russia, registered four birdies during the final set of 18—the most of any Lumberjack in a single round this week—and jumped 22 spots on the leaderboard with her performance.

Saum also engineered her best round of the Palmetto Intercollegiate on Tuesday, going for a 4-over 76 score and ended the week at 28-over 244. After going a combined 14-over 86 on the front nine of the course during the first two rounds of the tournament, Saum rallied today and shot an impressive even-72 and tapped in seven-straight par putts to close out her round.

It was Sierra Bezdicek placing second overall for the Lumberjacks this week, turning in a three-round total of 22-over 238 after a 6-over 78 performance Tuesday.  Leading the team in par-3 scoring this fall at a 3.10 clip—which also ranks in the top-seven percent in the country—the junior from Washington went 1-over on such holes today and finished tied for 68th.

Senior Kim Cifuentes (27-over 243) and freshman Loren Skibba (31-over 247) also logged scores today for the Lumberjacks.

"I think our athletes were a little tentative and it showed in their swings," said Graduate Assistant Coach Langley Vannoy. "It looked as though they were trying to steer the golf ball instead of just playing naturally and hitting it. This isn't a hard course to play, but if you hit bad shots, you're going to get into trouble quickly and that's what we did."

The NAU golf team is now finished with its fall slate of tournaments and will compete again this spring, starting with the Battle at the Rock tournament in Riverside, Calif. That event is scheduled for Feb. 13-14, 2017.

"Our athletes understand we have a lot of work to do," said Bedortha. "Going on trips like this is a great experience and as a coach, you want to give your players this kind of opportunity during their collegiate careers. With that being said, you want to come out here and compete and play better than we did. If we're going to be competitive in the spring, we have a lot to work on."