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Sights Set on NWC Championship for Women's Golf

Paige Henry

THE FINAL STRETCH: PLU women's golf will close out the 2012 season with its final tournament at the NWC Championships this weekend hosted by Whitworth University. Columbia Point Golf Club in Richland, Wash., will serve as the tournament course for both Saturday and Sunday's rounds.

TOURNAMENT WEB SITE: The NWC women's golf tournament web site can be viewed by clicking here.

LAYING THE GROUNDWORK: The Northwest Conference determines its champion by a cumulative score based on results of the NWC Fall Classic (25 percent), NWC Spring Classic (25 percent) and NWC Tournament (50 percent).  The George Fox Bruins lead the current standings with 16 points based on winning the Fall and Spring Classics.  Whitman is second with 14 points after finishing second in both of the previous tournaments.  If the Missionaries win the NWC Tournament, Whitman would tie George Fox for the NWC Championship and, based on the final tournament victory, earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament in May.  That scenario played out in 2010 when Whitworth upset George Fox at the final tournament. The primary question facing Northwest Conference women's golf teams heading into this week's NWC Tournament is can anyone stop George Fox's march to a third straight conference championship.  Whitworth, Linfield and Willamette are all tied for third place in the NWC standings with 10 points apiece.

TEE TIMES AND PAIRINGS: Pacific Lutheran will be short one golfer for the weekend's tournament. Only four players will be representing the Lutes in this weekend's tournament as opposed to the five golfers typically allowed per school. Therefore all of PLU's scores will count towards its tournament placement. The freshmen trio of Paige Henry, Kristina Norlin and Emily Cook along with sophomore Julie Heffernan will be four selected to compete this weekend. Cook is playing in her initial tournament for PLU. Pacific Lutheran will be paired alongside players from Linfield and Willamette in the first round. First round tee-times for the Lutes begin at 10:40 a.m. Saturday.

SEEKING IMPROVEMENT FROM 2011: Last season, the PLU women finished the NWC tournament in last position with a 733 (rounds of 370 and 363) team score, a combined 157 over-par. Karina Shelton finished alone in 23rd position shooting a 177 through 36 holes (rounds of 86 and 91).

2012 NWC SPRING CLASSIC RECAP: Pacific Lutheran golfers were bunched together near the middle of the pack and as a result the Lutes placed sixth at the Northwest Conference Spring Classic women's tournament that came to a close Sunday after two days at Wildhorse Golf Course.George Fox ran away with the team title, shooting rounds of 312 and 308 for a total of 620, 44-over-par on the par 72, 5,837-yard layout. Whitman was well back in second with a total of 650 after rounds of 320 and 330. Whitworth was third with 658, followed by Linfield 681, Willamette 690, PLU 716 (356-360), Pacific 770, Puget Sound 857, and Lewis & Clark incomplete. Medalist honors went to George Fox's Kelsey Morrison by 11 strokes. She carded consecutive one-under 71s for a total of 142, with Whitworth's Nicole Lomax at 153 on rounds of 77 and 76. PLU's four players finished within two strokes of each other. Paige Henry and Kristina Norlin both shot 178 to finish tied for 23rd, and Julie Heffernan and Karina Shelton carded both 180 to finish tied for 26th.

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