MISSION HILLS, Kan. – Heading into this week, no Roadrunner from CSU Bakersfield’s women’s golf team had ever earned a Top 10 placing at the Western Athletic Conference Championship. On Friday at Indian Hills Country Club, juniors Tori Peers and Ariel Lee both finished sixth and seventh, respectively, to lead CSUB to a fifth-place finish in the conference tournament.
“We didn’t get off to the start we needed this morning and couldn’t dig ourselves out of that early hole,” said Meghan Thomason, CSUB’s Director of Golf. “I am so proud of all five players. They all contributed in different ways to make this an extremely memorable week for our program.”
Thomason went on to talk about the team’s gritty performance this week: “They battled through less than ideal conditions during all three rounds and never gave up. Our steady play on the back nine is a testament to that. Tori played very solid golf and Ariel really bounced back today after a tough round yesterday.”
Peers and Lee began the day in the Top 10 and held on to become CSUB’s first-ever women’s golfers to place that high at the conference tournament. A native of Grand Island, Neb., Peers posted her best round of the tournament on Friday with a card of 73 (+3). Lee was close behind with a 74 while junior Julia Stewart and freshman Macey Mills rounded out the CSUB scoring four with identical scores of 79.
Peers finished sixth overall at the WAC Tournament with a 54-hole score of 224 (76-75-73, +14). Lee, a native of Singapore, was only two strokes back at 226 (73-79-74, +16) to finish seventh overall. Peers’ three-round total is tied for fifth-best in CSUB history while Lee’s score is eighth-best for the ‘Runners.
Mills finished the WAC Championship and tied for 17th, which is also better than any ‘Runner had done at a previous WAC tourney. The freshman from Bakersfield finished with a three-round total of 232 strokes (79-74-79, +22). Stewart was fourth for CSUB at 240 (82-79-79, +30) while senior Chandler Bullman wrapped up her ‘Runner career with a score of 250 (86-83-81, +40).
As a squad the ‘Runners placed fifth out of seven teams, their second-best WAC Championship placing after finish fourth in 2015. CSUB finished with 922 strokes after improving each round (310-307-305, +82). The total is CSUB’s fourth-best 54-hole tournament score all-time and the second-best result at the WAC Championship.
CSUB’s performance was its most competitive at the WAC Tourney as the ‘Runners were only seven strokes behind fourth-place Utah Valley and a mere fifteen strokes behind this year’s champion, New Mexico State. The Aggies’ Suthavee Chanachai took the individual title with a three-round score of 219 strokes, just five ahead of CSUB’s Peers.
After the tournament, Thomason also reflected on the season and next year’s prospects: “I’m sad to have the season end because these kids are playing great golf right now, but I know they will stay after it over the summer. Next fall, they will come back and be ready to go. It’s been one heck of a year.”