New Mexico Lobos at 2014 Mountain West Women’s Golf Championship
Where: Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club - Rancho Mirage, Calif.
First-Round Team Results: 1- San Diego State 293. 2- San Jose State 294. 3- New Mexico 295. 4- Boise State 296. 4 (tie)- Fresno State 296. 6- UNLV 303. 7- Nevada 308, 8- Wyoming 310. 9- Colorado State 311.
First-Round Individual Leaders: 1- Manon Molle', UNM, 71; 1 (tie)- Emma Henrikson, SDSU, 71; 1 (tie)- My Leander, SJS, 71; 1 (tie)- Gudrun Bjorgvinsdottir, Fresno St, 71; 1- (tie)- Madchen Ly, Fresno St, 71; 6- Paige Spiranac, SDSU, 72. 6 (tie)- Oceane Pelloille, Boise St, 72,
By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
The talk from coach seemed to have helped.
Lobo Coach Jill Trujillo met with freshman Manon Molle' a few weeks back and discussed what was expected of her: improvement.
It wasn’t that Molle' wasn’t playing well. She was. Her freshmen numbers are better than the freshman numbers pushed out by seniors Sammi Stevens or Manon De Roey. But Trujillo tries to push all of her Lobos to a higher level. Some listen and take the step up. Some not so much. Molle' listened.
“We talked about being groomed to becoming one of the better players in the country and Manon realizes that she can do exactly that,” said Trujillo. “I’m not surprised at where she is. This is the young lady that I recruited.”
After 18 holes of the Mountain West Women’s Golf Championship, the Lobo freshman can say there is no MW golfer better. The Lobo rookie is in a five-player logjam atop the individual leader board after carding a 1-under 71.
There are still 36 holes to play, but Molle' has been playing at a high level lately.
Her 71 matched her second-best card of her season/career and came off her season/career best of 70 fired at the Silverado Showdown.
Molle'’s card paced UNM into the No. 3 spot with a team card of 295. San Diego State has the lead at 293 with San Jose State in the No. 2 position at 294. Fresno State and Boise State are a shot behind the Lobos at 296 with UNLV needing to make a charge after a first-round score of 303.
As expected, the 2014 Mountain West Women’s Golf Championship is a dogfight
Molle' is tied with SDSU’s Emma Henrikson, San Jose State’s My Leander, Fresno State’s Gudrun Bjorgvinsdottir and teammate Madchen Ly. SDSU’s Paige Spiranac and Boise State’s Oceane Pelloille are tied at 72. There are four golfers at 73 and seven at 74 including New Mexico’s De Roey and Eva Saulnier.
A mild surprise for the Lobos was Saulnier coming in with a 2-over 74 The freshman from France was added to the New Mexico roster in January and had only nine rounds as a D-I Lobo prior to Thursday’s first round at the MW Championships. She went 85-76-82 at the Silverado. On Thursday, Saulnier birdied two of the final four holes.
“I’m really excited for our two freshmen,” said Coach Trujillo of the first-day cards thrown out by Molle' and Saulnier. “They had some nice birdies coming in.”
Molle’s 71 featured birdies on the par-5 No. 9 hole and the par-4 No. 16 hole with her lone bogey coming on the par-5 seventh hole
“She was steady all day,” said Trujillo. “She was saving par and making putts. She kept her demeanor under control and just kept making shots.”
UNM’s 295 was its second-best team card of the season. “What’s a better time to do it than the conference championships?” said Trujillo.
De Roey, the Mountain West’s defending champion, is still in the hunt with a 2-over 74. She suffered a double-bogey on the par-4 16th hole, but finished strong with a birdie on No. 18.
“The 18th is a tough finishing hole designed for the Kraft Nabisco,” said Trujillo. “They make it interesting with some water.”
The Lobos were 2-over par at one point on the back nine which gave them a three-shot lead over SDSU. “We lost a few shots on the back nine,” said Trujillo. "Overall, we shot well, but it’s also not one-and-done (with good rounds). We have two more days ahead of us.”
Senior Sammi Stevens was one Lobo who struggled on the back nine. She was even-par at the 9-hole turn, but had bogeys on 12, 13, 14 and 16. De Roey had the double-bogey on 16 and also had bogeys on 12, 14 and 15. She was 2-under-par with seven holes to go and finished 2-over.
“My thinking is we can do better on the back nine (on Friday),” said Trujillo. “Sammi and Manon (De Roey) had a few uncharacteristic bogeys and we haven’t seen the best from those two seniors. They are pretty determined young ladies.”
Stevens came in with a 4-over 76. A team’s total each day comes from the best four individual cards off a five-player team. UNM’s Katerina Jaeger shots a 79 over the first 18 holes.
The Aztecs took the first-day lead behind three golfers shooting 73 or lower. The Aztecs had to use a 77 as their fourth card.