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UVU golf: Whittaker takes 15th, Wolverines finish ninth at GCU Invite

By James Warnick

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 25 2014 8:35 p.m. MST

Sophomore Cassandra Lesa swings her golf club. She shot a career best 74 on Tuesday at the Grand Canyon Women's Spring Invitational.

Shane Truskolaski, UVU Athletics

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The Utah Valley University women's golf team moved up two spots during Tuesday's final round of play at the Grand Canyon Women's Spring Invitational to finish in ninth place. The tournament was contested at the Wigwam Resort Gold Golf Course in Litchfield Park, Ariz., and marked UVU's first competition in nearly four months.

"We played better as a team and we're starting to get used to the grass again. Everyone looked stronger and I was proud of the girls for posting the third-best score of the day today," head coach Sue Nyhus said. "Everybody had a good stretch of holes. Now we just need to work on being a little more consistent."

Junior Brooke Whittaker led the way for the Wolverines by taking 15th with a +17. After shooting rounds of 78 and 75 on Monday, Whittaker finished the tournament by firing an 8-over-par 80 on Tuesday. Sophomore Cassandra Lesa had the best round of any Utah Valley golfer during Tuesday's final 18, however, by carding a 2-over 74. Lesa's 74 is a career best and moved her 18 spots up the leaderboard as she finished in a tie for 57th place with a combined score of 254.

Behind Whittaker's 15th-place finish, freshman Monica Yeates was next for UVU as she finished the tournament in a tie for 41st with a 243. Yeates tallied scores of 80 and 82 on Monday and finished things off with a 9-over 81 on Tuesday. Junior Hannah Herman and redshirt freshman Kimberly Nyhus were Utah Valley's third and fourth place team finishers as they took 52nd and 54th, respectively. Herman ended the two-day tournament with a 251 (85, 86, 80) while Nyhus finished one stroke back with a 252 (82, 91, 79).

Junior Heather Mathison, who was playing the tournament as an individual, also had a solid final round on Tuesday as she fired a 4-over 76. Mathison's +4 moved her up 17 spots as she finished in 49th place. The junior ended the tournament with a 249 after rounds of 89 and 84 on Monday.

Sophomore Kalea Heu was also in action for UVU as an individual, and Heu finished the two-day tournament in 82nd place (281). Heu carded a 90 on Tuesday.

Utah Valley ended in ninth place after tallying 971 for the 54-hole tournament. As a team, the Wolverines' 313 on Tuesday was 14 strokes better than Monday's previous low round of 327. The 313 also marked the third best team score of the day.

Northern Arizona and Santa Clara split the tournament title with identical scores of 920. McNeese State finished in third (923), while host and fellow WAC foe GCU took fourth (925). GCU's Charlotte Jaengkit (+8) took home the individual medalist honors after winning a three-hole playoff against NAU's Brittany McKee.

Utah Valley will continue its spring season this weekend in Sedona, Ariz. NAU's Red Rocks Invitational will be contested on Saturday and Sunday at the Oak Creek Country Club.

"I was really proud of our young team," Nyhus said. "They're doing great things and all have a positive attitude. They are also great representatives of UVU and we're looking forward to this weekend's Red Rocks Invitational."

James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.