Taylor helps Portland to another Big Sky championship

Nelson’s Lauren Taylor helped the Portland State Vikings win the Big Sky Conference golf championship in record fashion Wednesday at Ocotillo Golf Resort in Arizona.

Lauren Taylor currently sits in 10th place after two rounds at the Big Sky Conference championships in Arizona.

Lauren Taylor currently sits in 10th place after two rounds at the Big Sky Conference championships in Arizona.

Nelson’s Lauren Taylor helped the Portland State Vikings win the Big Sky Conference golf championship in record fashion Wednesday at Ocotillo Golf Resort in Arizona.

After having a comfortable 36-hole lead, it got interesting during the final 18, but the Vikings held on to win their second straight Big Sky Conference Championship, third in four years and sixth in the past nine years.

Taylor birdied twice in the first seven holes, and shot 76 in the final round, to finish at 79-73-76=228. The Viking freshman tied for 14th. Overall, Portland State shot 303-287-290=880 to beat Northern Arizona University by 11 strokes.

The 880 total broke the Big Sky Championship record by six shots and the Portland State University record by seven shots. Portland State will now advance to an NCAA Regional Tournament, likely in Auburn, Wash. from May 5 to 7.

Head coach Kathleen Takaishi won her third Big Sky Championship title in four years at Portland State.

Viking sophomore Britney Yada also captured the individual title with a record six-under par 72-68-70=210.

The tournament record was even-par 216, set three times previously. It was Yada’s second career tournament win.

But winning the title was no slam dunk for the Vikings. The overnight lead grew to 14 shots early in the round.

Then, Bethany Leclair of Northern Arizona single-handedly kept the Lumberjacks in it, making five birdies in a span of seven holes. Even Yada had a hiccup, making a triple bogey at the fifth hole.

Playing in the final group, Yada rallied again and birdied number nine, but the Vikings had only a six-shot lead at the turn. Yada and Tiffany Schoning finished the front nine at even, while Brown was one-under par.

At one point, early on the back nine, the Viking lead  dropped to four strokes. Portland answered the challenge though, with birdies from three players. Leclair, who got all the way to six under after 11 holes, bogeyed twice on the back nine and Northern Arizona’s threat was over.

Despite her early triple bogey, Yada’s final-round two-under par 70 got her to 210 for the tournament. She won by five shots over Leclair, who shot a tournament-record 67 on the final day.