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Taylor nabs second straight title

Nelson-raised golfer wins second NCAA title in a row in California on Tuesday.
Lauren Taylor in action during the second round of the Anteater Invitational in Santa Margarita

Lauren Taylor’s remarkable run continued on Tuesday when the Nelson-raised golfer captured her second NCAA Division I golf title in a row.

Now a member of the Portland State Vikings female golf team, Taylor scored a two-stroke victory in the Anteater Invitational in Santa Margarita hosted by the University of California Irvine. At the three-round event being played at Dove Canyon Country Club, Taylor shot an opening round 71 on Sunday, followed it up with a 72 on Monday and closed with a four-over 75 to hang on for the title.

The week before at the Folino Invitational last week in Fullerton, California the Granite Pointe Golf Course-raised player become the first freshman in Portland State history to capture a golf tournament title. Taylor shot an even-par 70-74=144 to win the tournament played at Oak Creek Golf Club.

At this week’s tournament Taylor helped pace her seven-member Portland State squad to the overall title in Santa Margarita.

Clearly in a groove, Taylor led this week’s tournament from the first round on.

In the opening round Sunday, Taylor was two-over after seven holes but back-to-back birdies on the front-nine’s finishing holes  — a par four, followed by a par-five — put her back to even. Two more birdies on the back had Taylor two-under when she teed off the gorgeous water-lined par-four 18th. Taylor double bogeyed the hole to finish the day even par 71.

A steady second round produced one birdie and two double bogies, leaving Taylor at one over par for the tournament.

With the tournament lead, Taylor started strong on Tuesday with a birdie on the second hole. A double bogey on the par-three seventh hole — which she played plus-four for the week — left her one-over after the opening nine.

With a comfortable five-stroke advantage heading out onto the back, Taylor had some wiggle room and used it. She opened the back with two bogeys, but then birdied 13 and 14 — two holes she finished minus-four on the week — to get back to one-over on the day. Though she slipped slightly with three straight bogeys on the final three holes, her 75 was enough to stay clear of both Joyce Chong of Nevada and Kayla Mortellaro of the University of Idaho who both finished two strokes back.

Prior to the 70 in the Folino Invitational, Taylor’s best score in seven previous competitive rounds this year was 75.

Taylor also tied a school record by shooting an even-par score for a 36-hole tournament.

Taylor just turned 19 and this is her first season of NCAA golf. She attended the Brent Morrison Golf Academy on Vancouver Island in her last two years of high school. Last season Taylor finished 10th in the B.C. Girls Championship and took sixth in the B.C. Women’s Amateur which earned her a spot on the Canadian women’s national team.

For her win last week Taylor was named the Big Sky Conference golfer of the week. She was also named the Vancouver Sun athlete of the week.

- with files from Mike Lund/Portland State