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Golf faces nationally ranked opponents

Using the strong play of senior Taya Battistella as a springboard, the Portland State golf team climbed back to finish in 19th place in the Pioneer Electronic Bruin Classic, hosted by UCLA last weekend.

Battistella shot a 2-over 74 on the second day of the three-day, 20-team competition. The Vikings passed an outmatched Cal State-Northridge team to avoid a last-place finish at the Robinson Ranch Golf Club in Santa Clarita, Calif. While 19th was the lowest the team has finished all season, the competition in the Bruin Classic was the toughest it has faced all year. Seven nationally ranked teams were in the field, headed by Pepperdine, ranked second in a recent poll on The Waves won the tourney with a 34-over 898. USC,’s third-ranked team, shot a 900 and finished in second place, two strokes back. The Vikings shot 993 for the 54-hole tournament.

Battistella and sophomore Sarah Tiller both shot rounds of 81 on the first day of the Classic to lead the Vikings. Then Battistella was on fire Wednesday, shooting 74, which propelled her into a 25th place tie, nine back from the leader. Junior Rebecca Randolph led the team with an 82 on the final day as the Vikings rallied to finish two shots ahead of Cal State-Northridge.

Battistella finished tied for 52nd after she shot 23-over 239 for the tournament, followed by Tiller in a tie for 78th with a 249. Senior Bobbie Dunn finished with a 254, Randolph played the 54 holes in 255 and sophomore Jeana Lee came in with a 259. The tournament format takes the top four finishes from each team each day. The 20 teams each brought five players.

Up next for the Vikings is the Utah-Dixie Classic at the Sunbrook Golf Club in St. George, Utah, next Monday and Tuesday. The 22-school tournament is hosted by Brigham Young University and annually features teams from schools across the West.

Following the Utah-Dixie Classic, women’s golf heads to Palo Alto, Calif., April 12 and 13 to compete in the Peg Barnard Intercollegiate, hosted by Stanford University. After that, the team prepares to play in the three-day Big Sky Conference Championship in Goodyear, Ariz., the third week of April.