WWU Vikings

WWU cruises to fifth consecutive GNAC title

Western Washington University junior Kristen Hansen took medalist honors and freshman Jenn Paul tied for third place as the Vikings cruised to a fifth straight title at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women’s Golf Championships which ended Tuesday, Apr. 21, at the Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course (5,914 yards) in Idaho.

WWU finished with a 36-hole total of 627 (316), 14 strokes better than runner-up Montana State Billings at 641 (319). Simon Fraser was third at 644 (316), Northwest Nazarene fourth at 660 (334) and Saint Martin’s fifth at 663 (321).

“I’m happy that we were able to win,” WWU head coach Bo Stephan said in a news release. “We hit the ball well, but the greens were in bad shape, so we struggled there.”

The Vikings have dominated the GNAC tourney since it began in 2011. They won by 28 strokes that year, 19 in 2012, 46 in 2013 and 24 in 2014.

Hansen and Paul entered the final round tied for second. Hansen shot 76 for a winning score of 152, and Paul carded a 78 for a total of 154. Hansen was last year’s GNAC Player of the Year and Paul entered with a conference-leading 76.2 scoring average.

“Overall we were pretty solid,” said Hansen, who was third in 2014 and tied for sixth in 2013. “We would have liked to have done better, but it was enough.”

WWU’s Anna Bourland, the defending GNAC medalist, placed eighth at 158 (80) with Brooke Branigan 13th at 164 (83) and Audrey Orem 18th at 168 (82).