The Portland State women’s golf team proved victorious at the Price’s “Give ‘Em Five” Intercollegiate Tournament 2013 in New Mexico on Wednesday and simultaneously broke a school scoring record. Following the tournament head coach Kailin Downs said, “I knew they had the potential to shoot low numbers and win the event, but it’s always a matter of putting three rounds together. I was very impressed with the way they found ways to score and pull through at the end.”
Downs was hired in late September and has made quite an impression after leading her team to victory in New Mexico with her first win as head coach. The Vikings finished with 291-288-288=867, breaking the school scoring record by four shots.
When asked how she is adjusting to her new position Downs said, “I have quickly gotten to know the players. I tried to have a good balance between what they were used to and some things that I wanted to implement.” She adds, “Apparently that balance worked well — we might have to stick with that through the spring season!”
Before the final round the PSU team was two shots back, but ultimately they managed to break through. The Vikings defeated UC Irvine, who placed second and finished at 872. Third place in the tournament was CSU Fullerton finishing at 881, and fourth place was Nevada at 885.
One of the top players in the tournament was junior A Ram Choi, who set a school record and was also given the title of Big Sky Conference Golfer of the Week. Choi finished at 208, ultimately breaking the record of Britney Yada who scored 210 at the Big Sky Conference Championship in 2011.
When asked what she does before every match Choi said, “I warm up and have five minutes of quiet time and get my mind to settle in and not be anxious or nervous. I pray right before I tee off, it helps me calm down.”
Choi has been playing golf at PSU for two years, but before coming to PSU she competed in the British Columbia Women’s Amateur and placed sixth overall. She qualified for the LPGA Canadian Open in Surrey, British Columbia but unfortunately didn’t make the cut.
When asked if she hopes to be a professional golfer she said, “Yes. I would definitely want to play golf professionally after college.”
Another standout in the tournament was sophomore Riley Lemming, who finished the tournament at 214. Lemming’s two-under par score along with teammate Choi’s eight-under par score is the first time PSU has had two players shoot sub-par scores in the same tournament.
Lemming has been playing golf at PSU for two years. When asked how she likes the new coach she said, “[Downs] is really nice! We are getting to know her. She encouraged us to play our own game and kept us positive.”
The Vikings return to the course on Feb. 24 for the UC Irvine Invitational in Santa Ana, California.