Nelson begins another charge at Big Sky tourney
CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Ali Nelson, the Big Sky's defending individual champion, charged up the leader board Tuesday during the second round of this year's Big Sky Conference Championship presented by Black Clover.
Nelson, who last season was the first league freshman since 2005 to win a Big Sky individual title, shot a 1-over-par 73 Tuesday at Ocotillo Golf Course to finish the tournament's second of three rounds in a tie for fourth place at +3 overall (148).
Nelson's move up the board didn't translate to any sort of move for Northern Colorado in the team standings, however. The Bears, who shot a fourth-best 300 Monday before adding a 309 Tuesday (609), are 18 strokes behind team leaders Portland State and Northern Arizona.
Northern Colorado sits ahead of Montana, Weber State, Montana State, Eastern Washington and Idaho State.
Nelson, who carded a 2-over 75 Monday to sit in eighth, ended Tuesday knotted with Sacramento State's Brooke Green and Samantha Saffold and Portland State's Stephanie Johns.
All four are nine strokes behind leader Stephanie Kim of Northern Arizona, whose 2-under 70 Tuesday gave her a 36-hole total of 139 (-5). No player has ever finished the Big Sky Championship under par after 54 holes.
Chelsea Silvers shot a 6-over 78 Tuesday and will enter Wednesday's final round in a tie for 12th with a two-day mark of 152 (+8). Her sister Carleigh shot 79 Tuesday (+7) and is tied for 16th (154, +10).
Emily Dougherty also shot 79 Tuesday to sit alone in 24th (155, +11), and Abby McNeley's 88, and two-day total of 173 (+29) has her tied for 44th.
Kim, the league's Player and Freshman of the Year, holds a six-shot lead over teammate Megan Buck. She played a bogey-free round Tuesday and carded two birdies. Her 36-hole total of 139 is a tournament record, breaking the previous mark of 140 set by Sacamento State's Margaux Sheehan in 2007, and she's on the verge of becoming the first player in league history to finish under par in the championship. The best winning score is an even-par 216 recorded by Sheehan in 2007 and NAU's Lauren Gray in 2004.
Freshman Britney Yada of Portland State is in third place with a 3-over 147. She shot a 76 following a 71 on Monday. PSU's Kalyn Doge and Stephanie Johns each shot 73 on Tuesday, while Tiffany Schoning carded a 74.