Eagles Play Back-to-Back Tournaments in Chandler, Ariz.

Eastern women’s golf team plays at the Wyoming Cowgirl Classic April 5-6 before participating in the Big Sky Championships on the same course

From April 5 to April 21, the Ocotillo Golf Resort in Chandler, Ariz., will be a home away from home for the Eastern Washington University women’s golf team.

The Eagles will play their final two tournaments of the 2009-10 season at that location, starting with next week’s University of Wyoming Cowgirl Classic on Monday and Tuesday (April 5-6). After that, the Eagles will play in the Big Sky Conference Championships April 19-21 in Chandler.

“By the time the conference tournament begins, we will have already played two practice rounds as well as three tournament rounds on that course,” said Eastern head coach Brenda Howe. “I'm hoping that experience will take away some of the added pressure that a conference tournament can create.”

The Cowgirl Classic includes 23 teams, including eight of nine Big Sky Conference schools. Eastern was the 2008 tournament champion when Kristina Gargaro won individual medalist honors for the Eagles.

But this year’s Eastern team is young, with its five-player contingent for the remainder of the season including four freshmen and junior Kellie Holmstedt. Howe said that sophomore Kylie Ray recently had wrist surgery, an operation she was originally going to hold off having until the end of the season.

Holmstedt picked up an individual victory when Eastern defeated Cal State Bakersfield at the Cal Poly/Lamkin Grip Women’s Match Play Championship March 25-26 at Cypress Ridge Golf Course in Arroyo Grande, Calif. Eastern also lost to Portland and host Cal Poly as each school fielded a team of five golfers, with the No. 1 golfers from each team playing each other, No. 2 vs. No. 2, etc.

“We played well and gave a couple of good teams a run,” said Howe. “I think last week provided the girls some confidence going into our last two tournaments. The match-play format was a good format for the girls to learn a different competitive mindset, and hopefully that will transfer to their stroke play. It makes a difference when you're playing against someone versus playing against an entire field of golfers.”

Besides Holmstedt’s victory at the No. 1 position, Jayme Carbon picked up a win at No. 5, and No. 2 Dana Stapleton and No. 3  Neddy Martinez tied their Cal State Bakersfield opponents. Martinez, a freshman who graduated in 2008 from Pasco (Wash.) High School, picked up EWU’s lone match-play victory over Portland.

“I’m hoping that her performance at Cal Poly was a turning point for Neddy,” added Howe. “Hopefully that will give her some added confidence heading into our last two tournaments of the season.”


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