The CSU-Pueblo went 2-0 this season and so did its multi-awarded sophomore Leina Kim.
Kim topped the Rocky Mountain Athletics Conference Tournament No. 2 and towed the ThunderWolves to their second straight win of the season against 11 other schools in the Sept. 16 and 17 competition at Black Hill State in Spearfish, South Dakota.
Kim, who ruled the season-opening RMAC event early this month after shooting a school record 3-under par 69 in the second round and finishing the tournament held at the par-72 Desert Hawk Golf Course in West Pueblo with a 2-under par 142, went only 6-over par 148 in their first road competition. However, she had a bigger winning margin in the second tournament, prevailing by seven strokes against Western New Mexico’s Arrianna Estrada (13-over par 155). In the season opener, the CNMI golfer escaped with two-shot victory over West Texas A& M’s Glory Janghthongsiri (144) and bounced back from a three-stroke deficit in the first round against eventual third placer Judy Fapenfus, also of West Texas A&M.
While she came from behind in the RMAC opener, in the second tournament at the par-71 Spearfish Canyon Country Club, Kim, the Rookie and Golfer of the Year last season, took the early lead with her 2-over par 73. She was ahead by three strokes against teammate Julie Sanchez. Kim then carded the second-best score (4-over par 75) in the final round to clinch her second win of the season. Kim’s teammate Michaela Breit topped the second round with a 2-over par 73, but logged an 83 in the first round to settle for third place. Dominique Dinallo was the third CSU-Pueblo player to break into the Top 5 after totaling157 (79 and 78), while Sanchez fell to the No. 9 spot after collecting 162.
With four CSU-Pueblo golfers barging into the Top 10, the ThunderWolves recorded a bigger winning margin in their second tournament. CSU-Pueblo, which nipped West Texas A&M in the opener, 607-608, registered 623 (311 and 312) for a 34-shot victory over Colorado Mesa University, which tallied 657 (333 and 324).
Western New Mexico (668) finished third, followed by Montana St. Bailings (669), Regis University (678), Adams State University (690), UC Colorado Springs (690), Black Hills State (702), Chadron St. College (724), Metro State University (733), Colorado Christian University (735), and South Dakota Mines (780).
With its second consecutive win this season, Kim and company have ruled six of the last seven competitions in RMAC since the 2012-2013 season. The ThunderWolves hope to extend their winning run next week (Sept. 23 and 24) when they participate in the Western New Mexico Fall Intercollegiate at the Coldwater Creek Golf Course in Phoenix, Arizona.