KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – Freshman Maiya Baker likes that Oregon Tech has a healthy competition on its women’s golf team. It showed Tuesday as the Lady Owls broke the 300 barrier as a team with a 297, and easily won the two day Oregon Tech Fall Invitational golf tournament at the running Y Ranch G.C. with a 598.
Baker, who turned in the tournament’s best round among the women, completed Tuesday’s round with a 1-over par 73 on the 5,860-yard women’s course at the Running Y.
Tech easily won the tournament with a 598. Simpson University was a distant second at 720.
“Everybody has pushed each other harder to make each of us better,” Baker said after her two-round effort of 152 on an incredibly balanced OIT women’s performance. Aerin Song and Ashley Zhu tied for medalist honors at 150, Stephanie Koza finished with a 151, and Payton Canon also had a 152.
“I’m real pleased,” coach Jeff Corkill said.
While Tech’s biggest nemesis was not at the Running Y, the Hustlin’ Owls efforts should help in the polls.
Baker, from Hawaii via Las Vegas, was especially pleased with her 73 on Tuesday’s tough test because of nasty winds. “It’s my personal record. It’s the lowest tournament scored I’ve ever had,” Baker said. “I was pulling the ball quite a bit, but I used that to my advantage,” she said. “My putting (Monday) was awful, but (Tuesday) it was a difference maker. I was getting closer to the pin (for short putts).”
The women, who are nationally ranked at No. 10, have one more competition this fall and will play in the Sonoma State Fall Invitational at Rohnert Park, Calif., and then be idle until the OIT spring tournament March 8-9.
British Columbia, which played in the Canadian national championships Monday and Tuesday, are ranked No. 1 both in the Cascade Collegiate Conference and NAIA national polls.
After today’s round at the Running Y, the OIT men will have one final tournament before the winter break, and Tech will travel to Mesa, Ariz., to play in the NAIA Preview Tournament on the Las Sendas Golf Course which will host the national championships in May.
That tournament will be played Nov. 3-4.
OIT’s women, meanwhile, have one final fall event and travel to Rohnert Park, Calif., to play in the Sonoma State Invitational Oct.14-15.
If ever there was a time for the Oregon Tech men’s golf team to rebound from a mediocre effort, it was Tuesday in the final round of the Hustlin’ Owls Fall Invitational at the Running Y.
“This was the kind of tournament we needed to win to help us in the rankings,” captain Mayson Tibbs said after he finished the tournament at even par 144 on the 7,055-yard men’s course.
“It’s a big win, but we have to play better,” Tibbs, who had a 5-under 67 Tuesday, and battling difficult winds Tuesday was something he relished as he and Pitluk Phanomchai of LaVerne University both had the best round of the tournament,
Phanomchai won men’s medalist with 5-under 139 after having had a round of par Monday.
Tibbs was left to lament one hole Monday.
“I had an 11 on it,” he said of a par 4 in the opening round.
He shoots par and he finishes the tournament with a 137.
Still, he and his coach, Jeff Corkill, were pleased with his 67 under tough conditions.
“I was hoping for conditions to get a little bit challenging, to help me get back into contention,” Tibbs said. “Monday, the weather was perfect. (Tuesday), there were two or three club winds.”
His 67 helped Tech post a team score of 292, which allowed the Hustlin’ Owls to win the team championship with a 592, a six-stroke advantage over Menlo College, and the Oaks turned in the second best team score of the tournament during Tuesday’s round.
Michael Gray and Jared McBride tied for fifth place in the chase for men’s medalist honors, each at 147, for a young Tech team battling to live up to its No. 22 national ranking, the second highest among Cascade Collegiate Conference schools.
“Our freshmen need to be a position to improve, and it’s a mental thing,” Tibbs said of the Owls, who have one final competition this fall before the winter break. OIT will play Nov. 3-4 in the NAIA preview meet in Mesa, Ariz.
It will be there Tibbs hopes to step up and lead OIT, again.
Tuesday, he did that.
“My ball striking was really strong,” he said. “So was my proximity to the hole. I didn’t putt the ball that well Monday. (Tuesday), I put myself inside five feet to give myself a ton of good looks (at the pin).”
- After the winter break, OIT will host its annual spring invitational March 8-9 at Eagle Point.
- The NAIA preview tournament will be played at the Las Sendas Golf Course in Mesa.
- The top team in the Cascade Collegiate Conference, the University of British Columbia, did not make the trip to the Running Y so it could, instead, play in the Canadian national championships.
- The lone conference schools to play in this year’s tournament were Multnomah and Walla Walla universities.
- In addition to Tibbs, Gray and McBride, OIT’s Preston Luckman finished 14th in this year’s tournament, while Cameron Barnhardt tied for 16th, and the four Tech players all were within 10 strokes of Tibbs.