KANEOHE, Hawaii––Taylor Wells (So./Rochester, Minn./Century) overcame a tough day on the greens to fire an 86, leading 20th-ranked Carleton College to a first round lead at the Aloha @ Oahu Collegiate Classic.
The Knights, and the entire field, struggled on a hot, windy day that featured pin placements more reminiscent of a U.S. Open rather than a small college golf event, according to Carleton head coach Eric Sieger.
“The pins were just brutal, frankly, and there were a couple of pins that were unfair to the players,” he said. “I thought we did a pretty good job of staying mentally strong and focused, but the heat and wind wore us down as the day progressed.”
The Knights finished the day at 353, two shots ahead of Whitman College, last year’s automatic qualifier out of the Northwest Conference. The Missionaries’ Elaine Whaley, playing as an individual, had the day’s low score at 84, followed by Katie Zajicek and Alyssa Maine (also an individual) at 85. Hawaii Pacific University, the third team in the field, is third at 371, paced by Susanna Sarkki’s 86.
For the Knights, Kelsey Moede (So./Lake Oswego, Ore.) and Grace Gilmore (Fy./Edina, Minn.) added 88s, while Gina Kabasakalis (So./Alameda, Calif./College Prep) posted a 91.
The three teams are back in action on Friday, moving to Ko’olau Golf Club, dubbed the hardest course in the nation. The format moves to match play for the final round.