Heading to the big stage

Viking golfers open NCAA West Regional play on Thursday Mike Lund Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations

Portland State’s “Fab Five” will take to the course this Thursday at the NCAA West Regional at Washington National Golf Club in Auburn, WA. The Vikings, winners of the Big Sky Conference Championship, go into the 24-team West Regional as the 20th-seeded team. It is Portland State’s sixth appearance at the NCAA West Regional in the last nine seasons.

PSU will try to play off its recent successes, which include three straight tournament wins heading into the West Regional. The Vikings have a 302.3 scoring average this year; however over their last three tournaments, the fivesome of Britney Yada, Lauren Taylor, Tiffany Schoning, Kalyn Dodge and Alexia Brown have reduced that scoring average significantly. During wins in the UC Irvine Anteater Invitational, Wyoming Cowgirl Classic and the Big Sky Championship, PSU compiled a 293.4 scoring average.

The competition at the West Regional gets much more challenging though, as the top-ranked team in the nation and Pac-10 Champion, USC, will be among the competitors. Other top-25 nationally-ranked teams playing in the regional are Virginia, Arizona, Georgia, Tennessee, Pepperdine, Iowa State and UC Davis.

The top eight teams from the West Regional will advance to the NCAA Championship Tournament, May 18-21, at the Traditions Golf Club in State College, Texas.

Reaching the NCAA Championship Tournament would be a monumental achievement for the Viking team. PSU’s best-ever finish at an NCAA Regional is 16th. The Vikings go into the regional ranked 59th in the golfstat.com poll and 70th in the Golfweek rankings.

Two-time Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year Kathleen Takaishi will take her top five once again to Washington National. They include sophomore Britney Yada (75.10 scoring average), freshman Lauren Taylor (75.83), junior Tiffany Schoning (76.06) and seniors Kalyn Dodge (76.86) and Alexia Brown (77.13).

Yada was the Big Sky Conference medalist at the Big Sky Championship, shooting a six-under par 210 total. Brown tied for sixth with 223 overall. All five Vikings were among the top 14 players.

Yada, Taylor and Schoning were first team All-Big Sky Conference honorees this year. Dodge earned second team honors. Taylor was named the Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year.

The 24-team field at the NCAA West Regional will play for eight spots in the NCAA Championship. This year’s Championship Tournament will be played at The Traditions Golf Club in State College, TX and is hosted by Texas A&M.

Washington National Golf Club will play as a 6,321-yard, par 72 course at the NCAA West Regional. Washington National also hosted the NCAA West Regional in 2006 and was the site of the 2002 NCAA National Championship.

Teams competing in the West Regional (listed in order of seed, 1-24): USC, Virginia, Arizona, Georgia, Tennessee, Pepperdine, Iowa State, UC Davis, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tulsa, Denver, San Diego State, BYU, New Mexico, UT-San Antonio, PSU, New Mexico State, San Jose State, Oral Roberts and UTEP

The tournament is 54 holes of stroke play with 18 holes each day from Thursday through Saturday. Play begins at 8 a.m. each day. On Thursday, May 5, the Vikings will tee off on the first hole between 1:25 and 2:09 p.m. in the afternoon wave. On Friday, May 6, the Vikings will tee off on the 10th hole between 8:55 and 9:39 a.m. On Saturday, May 7, tee times will be the same as Thursday. ?

*This article was originally published by GoViks.com. It is reprinted here in its original form.