Viking golf takes championship

On April 21, the Portland State women’s golf team teed off at Goodyear, Arizona’s Palm Valley Golf Club and never looked back. The Viking team would impressively retain the first-place lead on all three days of championship play before coming home with its first-ever title.

Things were going decidedly in PSU’s favor on day one, when the team shot a school-record 294 on the first 18 holes of the 6,050 yard, par 72 course. It was a six-stroke improvement over its previous record score of 300. Eastern Washington trailed in second place at 302, and Northern Arizona, which had been favored to win the tournament, stood in third at 307.

Viking standout Taya Battistella broke her own record of 69 and led her team at four-under par, while sophomore Sarah Tiller and junior Rebecca Randolph rounded out the top three scores on the team at two- and three-over par respectively. Battistella also led all individual players with a three-stroke lead over Eagle Jeanie Bagnell.

Eastern Washington was able to cut into the Viking lead on day two, when it climbed within four shots of PSU’s overall score of 604. Northern Arizona remained in third at 631, while Montana State and Weber State were neck and neck in fourth at 634.

Battistella was able to overcome the 30 mph winds to keep her first place individual ranking with a two-over-par performance.

PSU finished off its tournament run with some outstanding play on day three. For the second time in her collegiate career, Battistella earned a BSC medal with her final score of 68-74-77=219. Rebecca Randolph had the best finish of the day at 71, a score that also placed her in second overall at 224, and was the fifth best in BSC Championship history. Sarah Tiller tied for sixth place in the competition at 74-79-77=230. Other Viking finishes included Jeana Lee (77-81-76=234) in a tie for 12th place, and Bobbie Dunn (79-79-83=241), who tied for the 24th spot.

PSU closed out the tournament with a team score of 905. Eastern Washington (914) and Northern Arizona (934) remained in the second- and third-place slots.

“We believed all along that we could win,” said PSU head coach Felicia Johnston. “Whether they took us lightly or not, I don’t feel like it was unexpected at all. It’s all about confidence and, if that’s up, then anything is possible.”

Next up, the new BSC champions will head to the NCAA West Regionals in Arizona on March 8.