Welch Rallies To Capture Thompson Invitational Title

March 17, 2004

KANEOHE, Hawaii - It's been quite a spring season for Washington State junior Kim Welch.

And it's not even officially spring yet.

Welch was as warm as the Hawaii weather Wednesday and in the process, the Sacramento, Calif., native iced her competition during the final round of the Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational at the par 72, 5,829 yard Kaneohe Klipper Golf Club.

Welch notched her third win of the spring by rallying from four shots behind to capture her second consecutive victory and her sixth career triumph.

Last week, Welch took the Oregon Duck Invitational for the third consecutive year and she opened the spring campaign with a dominating 12-stroke win at the Islander Spring Classic in Corpus Christi, Texas, Feb. 17.

The All-American, who is currently 17th in the Golfstat Cup rankings, began the third and final round at 4-over, placing her in a tie for sixth and four shots behind leader Brooke Tull of TCU.

However, on a day where players struggled with breezy conditions and fast greens, Welch fired a 1-under 71 to propel her to a two-shot victory over a quartet of players.

Welch's 71, which tied for the best final round score in the 51-person field, gave her a 54-hole total of 3-over 219. Conversely, the average final round score of the six players tied or ahead of Welch entering the final round was 77.

'Kim is just a steady player,' WSU Assistant Coach Heather Holte said. 'It seems the tougher the conditions, the better she plays.'

Welch's victory propelled the Cougars to a third place team finish. With a score of 924, WSU bettered No. 25 (Golfstat) Pepperdine by two strokes.

Junior Jay-Lee Longbottom notched her fourth consecutive top 25 finish of the spring, and the 15th of her career, with a 22nd place finish. Maria Kostina secured her ninth career top 25 effort by finishing in a tie for 23rd. Ana Kostina and Stephanie Parsley tied for 30th to round out the Cougar contingent.

The women's team returns to action at the Mountain View Collegiate in Tucson, Ariz., March 27 & 28.

Thompson Invitational
March 16-17
Kaneohe Klipper Golf Club; Kaneohe, Hawaii
Par 72, 5,829 yards
Final Results

WSU Results:
1. Kim Welch (75-73-71 - 219, +3); 22. Jay-Lee Longbottom (76-77-82 - 235, +19); T23. Maria Kostina (79-79-79 - 237, +21); T30. Ana Kostina (81-80-79 - 240, +24); T30. Stephanie Parsley (81-84-75 - 240, +24).

Team Results:
1. New Mexico 889; 2. San Diego State 918; 3. Washington State 924; T4. Pepperdine 926; T4. Hawaii 926; 6. Nevada 928; 7. TCU 930; 8. Weber State 947; 9. Osaka Gakuin 956.

Top Five Individuals:
1. Kim Welch, Washington State (75-73-71 - 219, +3); T2. Kailin Downs, New Mexico (74-73-74 - 221, +5); Christine Fernandez, New Mexico (77-68-76 - 221, +5); T2. Dale Gammie, Hawaii (72-75-74 - 221, +5); Heather MacRae, San Diego State (72-777-72 - 221, +5).

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