Las Cruces, NM - A Ram Choi and the Vikings capped a record-setting week for Portland State women's golf as the Vikings won the Price's Give 'Em Five intercollegiate tournament at the New Mexico State Golf Course on Wednesday.
Choi and the Vikings both set school scoring records in the win, giving new Head Coach Kailin Downs her first tournament victory at Portland State.
The Vikings came from two shots behind heading into the final round to win the Price's Give 'Em Five. PSU passed tournament leader UC Irvine behind a 67 from Choi and 71 from Riley Leming on Wednesday. Portland State posted 291-288-288=867 (+3) to break the school scoring record by four strokes. UC Irvine came in at 290-287-295=872 (+6).
"I am really proud of this team," said Downs, who was officially hired at PSU on Sept. 25. "After not starting well today, they battled back and finished strong. They put three great rounds together. It's very surreal to have a win after less than two weeks with this group."
Choi ran away with the individual title, matching the school single-round scoring record that she already shared with Britney Yada. Choi had a remarkable, seven-birdie final round of 67. She went out in five-under 31 on the front nine and shot even on the back nine. The Viking junior finished at 68-73-67=208. Her eight-under par score won the tournament by six shots and broke Yada's school scoring record of six-under par 210 (set at the 2011 Big Sky Championship).
Tying for second place was Leming, who started slow with a double-bogey, shot 40 on the front nine, then roared home with her own five-under 31 on the back nine. Leming was tied for 24th after the first round but posted 75-68-71=214 to tie for second place and easily beat her personal best by six strokes. Leming, a sophomore, also had seven birdies in her final round.
"A Ram really took advantage of the scorable holes and played with a lot of heart," said Downs. "A second-place finish for Riley is awesome. She really battled back today after going four over on the front nine to five under on the back nine."
Freshman Madisen Bentley established a new personal best as well. She came in tied for 17th at 76-71-75=222. That was two shots better than her previous best at the Bronco Fall Classic.
Junior Kelly Miller also carded a 75 on Wednesday. Miller tied for 23rd with 72-76-75=223. That too, easily set a new personal record. Miller's previous 54-hole best was 231, shot last spring.
Kristin Henno tied for 49th in the 77-player field. The Viking sophomore shot 76-77-77=230.
In addition to overtaking UC Irvine, the Vikings created a lot of space from the rest of the field. Third-place Cal State Fullerton was 14 shots back at 881. Fourth-place Nevada was 18 shots behind at 885.
The tournament win was the first for the Vikings since the 2011 Big Sky Conference Championship. A six-time Big Sky Champion since 2003, PSU has now won 13 tournaments since the origins of the program in 1997-98. It marks the first tournament win for any of the current team members.