After Rocky Start, Eagles See Improvement at Oregon State Invitational

Eastern finishes 15th out of 16 teams in first event of fall season

The Eastern Washington University women’s golf team may not have placed as high as it wanted at the Oregon State Invitational, but the Eagles certainly got the experience they were looking for in their first event of the 2012-13 campaign.

Eastern finished the three-day tournament with a cumulative team effort of 981 (322-337-322), good for 15th place on the team leaderboard. The Eagles played 36 holes on Monday (Sept. 17) at Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis, Ore., and another 18 on Tuesday (Sept. 18).

In the first two rounds, EWU was paired with Washington - a team ranked among the top 30 in the nation. The Huskies ended up winning the tournament by 25 strokes.

“We had a tremendous opportunity the first day being paired with one of the best teams in the nation,” said head coach Brenda Howe. “The one thing I wanted our team to take away from this experience, which I pointed out afterward, was that nobody hits the ball that much better than anybody else out there. But what separates the top teams from everyone else is their ability to grind through the round and just put the ball in the hole.

“I don’t feel as though we performed nearly to our potential,” added Howe. “We absolutely have to improve on the ‘fight’ in our game.”

In the first two rounds in Corvallis, Eastern was forced to play with just four, as its No. 1 qualifier, Caitilin Rice, withdrew due to illness.

“Playing with only four obviously puts a lot of pressure on us as a team because we don’t have the ability to drop a high score,” said Howe. “But after having about as bad of a start as we could have, some of the players really pulled it together and turned in scores below 80. That shows we are definitely capable, we just need to work on executing for an entire tournament.”

Eastern was led by senior Jayme Carbon, who fired a 54-hole total of 238 (77-85-76). Her 76 in the third round was the third-lowest single-round score of her career. Carbon finished tied for 63rd on the individual leaderboard.

Freshman Marissa Borja was second on the Eagle squad and 74th overall. After the first five holes on Monday, Borja was eight over, but she parred the next 12 in a row, and finished her round with a birdie.

“I feel Marissa is as strong of a player as I’ve seen in my four years here,” said Howe. “Her ability to make pars after missing greens is something that I love about her game. She has struggled a little with her ball striking since arriving in Cheney, so I really look forward to her hitting the ball to her full ability. Those putts she has been making for par will eventually be made for birdie.”

After the first-round effort of 79, Borja ended up with a total score of 243 (79-83-81). Junior Sara Callagy and freshman Maddie Dodge tied for 83rd with the same 54-hole score of 250. Callagy carded 78-89-83, while Dodge turned in an 88-80-82.

Dodge, a product of Post Falls, Idaho, was competing against her sister, Genna, in this tournament, who is a senior on the Gonzaga women’s golf team. The Bulldogs took third at the Oregon State Invite after firing a total team score of 891 (294-301-296).

Next up for the Eagles is the WSU Cougar Cup at the familiar Palouse Ridge Golf Club in Pullman, Wash.  The event will take place next Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 24-25.

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