CEDAR CITY, Utah, April 11 - Southern Utah's women's golf team plays for a chance to compete in the NCAA championships next week when the Thunderbirds compete at The Summit League championship at Primm Valley Golf Club on Monday and Tuesday. The women's tournament is being held at the par 72, 6,945-yard lakes course.
The field includes all 10 Summit League programs: SUU, Centenary, IPFW, IUPUI, UMKC, North Dakota State, Oakland, Oral Roberts, South Dakota State and Western Illinois.
The winning team earns a spot in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Last Year at The Summit League Championship: SUU struggled to a final-round 342 to slip two and finish fifth. Sadie Palmer finished 14th to lead the Thunderbirds. After shooting back-to-back rounds of 325 on Monday the Thunderbirds were in third place heading into the final round but all but one SUU player, Jamie Coking, shot her worst round of the tournament on Tuesday. The result was a final-round score of 342 that allowed UMKC and Western Illinois to move past the Thunderbirds in the final standings. SUU finished at 992, well off the pace of host and tournament champion Oral Roberts, which shot 932. South Dakota State finished second at 965, followed by UMKC (971), WIU (973) and the Thunderbirds. North Dakota State finished sixth at 997, with Oakland (1,002) seventh, IUPUI (1,012) eighth, Centenary (1,031) ninth and IPFW (1,134) tenth. Palmer, who was seventh following the second round shot 86 on Tuesday to finish at 244 while Mikayla Williamson shot 86 as well to slip from 10th to 18th at 246. Coking finished 20th at 248 after a final-round 83, Kacy Buckner was 28th at 254 after shooting 87 on Tuesday and Morgan Kerber, who also shot 87 on Tuesday, finished 29th at 255. Oral Roberts' Amber Hensley won the individual championship at 15-over par 228. The tournament was held at The Oaks Country Club in Tulsa.
The Coach: Richard Church (Utah '89) is in his 11th season as head golf coach and his 16th on the staff at Southern Utah. Prior to taking over the program from former Coach John Evans, Church spent four seasons as the Thunderbirds' assistant coach. During his tenure on the SUU staff, Church has coached five academic all-Americans, one Mid-Continent Conference medalist, two Mid-Con runner-ups and the University's first NCAA post-season competitor in golf. He has also seen the team finish second in the league four times since SUU began competing in the Mid-Con in 1997-98.
Last Time Out: SUU finished 18th in a field of 23 at the University of Wyoming's Cowgirl Classic. Junior Sadie Palmer led the way for the Thunderbirds, finishing 50th. Palmer shot 77 on tuesday, her best round of the tournament after rounds of 80 and 78, but wound up in the same place she began the day, in 50th at 19-over par 235. Palmer finished 22 shots off the pace of Portland State's Britney Yada, who finished at 3-under 213 and was named medalist after a scorecard playoff with Northern Colorado's Carleigh Silvers, who also shot 213. Junior Kacy Buckner finished second among Thunderbirds, in 56th at 237, followed by freshman Kaohi Loo (75th, 241), sophomore Jamie Coking (98th, 249) and senior Morgan Kerber (110th, 254). Portland State ran away with the team crown, shooting 7-over par 871 to finish 28 strokes ahead of second place New Mexico State (899) and 31 up on third-place BYU.