Strong Second Round Moves Towner into 6th Place Tie at Pacific Invitational

Lexi Towner (Jr., Chico, CA/Chico HS)
Lexi Towner (Jr., Chico, CA/Chico HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

BANKS, Ore. -- Lexi Towner (Jr., Chico, CA/Chico HS) of Willamette University improved by nine strokes in the second round of the Pacific Spring Invitational on Sunday, Feb. 24 to move up from 10th place into a tie for sixth place in the final standings at Quail Valley Golf Course. Towner carded an 81 in the second round for the fourth-lowest round of the day and the sixth-best round of the tournament. She shot 171 overall, including a 90 in the first round.

Towner ended the weekend tie for sixth with Tori Eichten from Lewis & Clark College and with Delainey Patterson from Corban University. Eichten shot 89-82 and Patterson shot 86-85.

Medalist honors went to Nicole Gargarella from University of Victoria (B.C., Canada), who shot a 36-hole score of 157. She shot 79 in the first round and followed up with a 78 in the second round. Gargarella led a 1-5 sweep for the Vikes. Quinn Fitzgerald of Victoria was second at 158 (80-78), as she finished just one stroke out of the lead. Melanie Murchison was third at 162 (83-79), while Rhiannon Jones took fourth at 168 (82-86). Sukriti Harjal was fifth with a score of 169 (85-84).

Also competing for Willamette were Kristen Barclay (Jr./So., Kenmore, WA/Cedar Park Christian School) and Katerin Vasquez (So., Indio, CA/Coachella Valley HS). Barclay improved by 14 strokes in the second round with a 97 after shooting 111 in the first round. Vasquez shot 121 in both rounds.

"I was really proud of the women on day one, when the weather couldn't have been much worse," Willamette Assistant Coach Ryan Melnychuk said. "They all kept with it, and posted scores that kept them competitive going into day two. Round 2 was a huge improvement in multiple ways. Lexi had her personal best round of 81, and scores that low are going to happen more and more for her in the future. Her game is improving every week. The weather improved drastically on the second day, which allowed the Bearcats a real chance to improve. Kristen was able to lower her score and Kat was able to match her score from day one."

The team standings were topped by Victoria with two-day total of 643 (324-319). Corban was second with a score of 711 (360-351). Lewis & Clark was third at 737 (381-356) and Pacific University placed fourth at 761 (384-377). Willamette and Linfield did not enter complete teams.

Willamette will compete at the Regal Invitational hosted by California Lutheran University on March 10-12. The tournament will be held at Sunset Hills Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California.

Lexi Towner (Jr., Chico, CA/Chico HS)

Big Moment of the Meet for Willamette

Lexi Towner shot an 81 in the second round of the Pacific
Invitational, as she improved by nine strokes over the first
round. She tied for sixth place overall with a 36-hole score
of 171. Her score of 81 on Sunday was the fourth-lowest
round of the day and the sixth lowest round of the meet.