By Ali Baggott, Vikes Communications
On the second day of competition at the 2019 NAIA Women’s Golf Championship the University of Victoria Vikes found themselves knocked out of the next round of team play by three strokes. Nicole Gargarella and Sukriti Harjai are the only Vikes who will continue the final two rounds of play but as part of Top 40 individuals.
The UBC Thunderbirds climbed two places in the team standings, taking the lead with a team round of 296 at the halfway point of the Championship. The round was tied for the second-best team score of the day, two shots behind the round turned in by SCAD Savannah (Ga.) Bees, who shot a 294. Keiser University (Fla.) sits in second after the cut, with SCAD-Savannah in third, Dalton State (Ga.) College in fourth, and a tie for fifth with the University of Northwestern Ohio and the University of the Cumberlands (Ky.).
Only the Top 17 teams move on to the final two rounds of vying for the team championship banner. The Vikes collectively shot two strokes better than their opening round. A 314 today left the Vikes sitting at +26 after two rounds and ultimately in 21st in the overall team rankings.
“It’s pretty disappointing and even though they finished 21st it was pretty jammed up near the cut line with one shot difference between many teams,” described Vikes head coach Justin Clews. “The girls did play hard but just couldn’t close their rounds to make the cut as a team. It’s not really reflective of the year they had but the bright spots are that Nicole and Sukriti are playing well and are both within 10 strokes of the individual leaders.”
Gargarella shot a 77 in her second round to now sit tied for 21st overall with a two-round score of 149 (+5). First-year Vike Harjai was the lowest Vike on Day 2 after shooting a 74 to now sit tied for 38th with a 153 (+9). Now out of the championship are Vikes Rhiannon Jones(+18), Quinn Fitzgerald (+22) and Melanie Murchison (+23) who will their heads to preparations for the Canadian University Golf Championship.
“Hopefully the rest of the team can turn things around ahead of Canadians and be competitive in a four, count-three format,” added Clews. “Two players on the team are play really well so we will need step in the third spot to contend for a title at Canadian nationals.”
The top 17 teams and top 12 individuals who finished in the top-40 and ties after the round made the cut, and beginning on Thursday, the tournament will go to a single session, although tee times will continue to be scheduled off both the front and back nines. The first tee times are for six of the individuals who will tee-off at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday morning.
Following the NAIA Championship, the Vikes will have one week to regroup for the Golf Canada Canadian University/College National Championship hosted in Komoka, Ont. from May 27-30.
T21 – Victoria (316-314 : 629) +54
T21 – Nicole Gargarella (72-77 : 149) +5
T38 – Sukriti Harjai (79-74: 153) +9
T103 – Rhiannon Jones (82-80: 162) +18
T122 – Quinn Fitzgerald (83-83: 166) +22
T125 – Melanie Murchison (83-84: 167) +23