Nearly overcoming a 10-shot deficit, the Nevada women’s golf team earned a program-best second place finish at the 2019 Mountain West Championship.
The Wolf Pack, which fell just one stroke back of the lead, carded a 9-over team score of 297 on the final day, which was the second-best team score of the entire tournament, and the top team round of the day. The next closest team score in the final round was UNLV at 14-over par. Nevada went toe-to-toe all day long with eventual champion San Diego State, which it trailed by 10 entering the final 18 holes.
The Aztecs carded an 18-over par team score of 306 on the day, which allowed the Pack to climb back into the hunt. The difference maker down the stretch came from SDSU’s Sara Kjellker, who shot 1-under par on the back nine and tied for second place. That extra birdie from Kjellker on the back side gave the Aztecs the advantage they needed at the close of the final round.
It was an incredible run for the Wolf Pack, which entered the tournament ranked 105th in the nation and seventh in the league. The second place finish for Nevada ties its best conference championship finish and is its best since 2003. It also marked its best showing since joining the Mountain West. Nevada topped in-state rival UNLV, which was gunning for its fourth straight conference title, for the first time in MW play to earn three points in the Silver State Series. The Pack also bested No. 27 San José State by seven shots.
The Pack got a superb bounce back performance from freshman Danni Ujimori, who fired the low Nevada round of the day. Ujimori, who carded rounds in the 80s her first two days, finished with an even par 72 on Wednesday and jumped 14 spots into a tie for 25th. The rookie made eight pars on the challenging back nine to go along with three birdies on the front side.
Fellow rookie Victoria Gailey earned a top five in her first Mountain West Championship appearance, grabbing sole possession of fifth place. Gailey saved her best round of the tournament for last, firing a 1-over 73 to jump into the top five. She led the team with five birdies throughout her round and par’d five of her last six holes. Gailey finished the event at 8-over par, seven shots back of individual champion Brigitte Thibault of Fresno State.
Junior Jenny Krause and senior Chaithra Katamneni both placed just outside the top 10 in a tie for 11th in the 45-player field. Krause carded a 77 on the final day, making eight pars on the back nine, while Katamneni tied her tournament-low score of 75. Playing in her final conference championship, Katamneni made 13 pars during her round. Fellow senior Kaitlin Collom finished with an 83 on Wednesday and tied for 20th.
5. Victoria Gailey, 75-76-73=224 (+8)
T11. Jenny Krause, 78-74-77=229 (+13)
T11. Chaithra Katamneni, 79-75-75=229 (+13)
T20. Kaitlin Collom, 73-78-83=234 (+18)
T25. Danni Ujimori, 83-81-72=236 (+20)