TEMPE, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona University golf team competed in the first of three rounds at the 2017 PING/Arizona State Invitational today, turning in a team score of 17-over-par 305. The Lumberjacks ended the day in 13th place on the leaderboard, six strokes back of 12th-place Missouri.
"We saw some positive things today," said Head Coach Brad Bedortha. "It was good to get the nerves out of the way, and hopefully tomorrow we can be a little sharper and execute some more shots."
The top NAU scorecard on the day belonged to sophomore Sofia Anokhina, who registered a respectable even-par 72 score—right around her scoring average. Anokhina's consistency has been on display all spring long and today was no exception, starting out the day on the back nine and canceling out bogeys on No. 12 and 18 with birdie putts on No. 14 and 1. She closed out her morning/early afternoon with eight-straight pars and in a tie for 18th.
"For the most part, we did well overall," said Graduate Assistant Coach Langley Vannoy. "There were quite a few nerves this morning from our golfers and you could see it. However, we were able to settle in, play the golf course and finish well. Obviously, [Anokhina] played great again today and was able to shoot another low score for our team. She's on fire, and her confidence is driving her success right now."
Loren Skibba, scoring out of the No. 4 slot, also pieced together a good round—the best of her young collegiate career, in fact. The Lumberjack freshman from Verona, Wis., shot a 3-over 75, closing out her round with five consecutive par putts.
Both NAU coaches were proud of what they say from Skibba today.
"It was definitely a big win for her, personally," said Vannoy. "She has been working hard on her attitude and self-confidence, and that effort showed today."
"I know she was nervous to start out, but she handled herself beautifully," said Bedortha. "[Skibba] was making solid contact, she kept her emotions in check…I'm just impressed with her performance all the way around."
Other scoring NAU golfers included senior Kim Cifuentes out of the No. 2 slot and Kaitlyn Saum out of the No. 3 marker, both matching each other with 7-over 79 tallies. The Lumberjacks' No. 5 scorer this weekend is Carly Akine, who began her tournament with a 13-over 85 mark.
Second-round action for NAU will get underway at 9:03 a.m. MT with Akine, followed by Skibba (9:12), Saum (9:21), Cifuentes (9:30) and Anokhina (9:39). As it stands right now, host school Arizona State is tied with Baylor for first-place at 10-under, followed by Washington (1-under), Arizona (1-under) and UNLV (1-over).
Follow the Lumberjacks live at home here.