Bruner, TU take next step with victory, look forward to conference championship

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Final results can be see HERE.

By Ken MacLeod

Playing in the namesake tournament of the legendary woman who guided the University of Tulsa to four national championships, the Hurricane showed it is a program on the rise by winning the Dale McNamara Invitational Tuesday at Tulsa Country Club.

Although the field was not laden with highly-ranked opponents, it was still a significant achievement for a program that had slipped into obscurity before hiring current coach Emilee Klein-Gille three years back. This was her first victory as a coach since her stint at San Diego State from 2009-11 and TU’s first as a program since 2013.

For senior Nadia Majidizadeh, the hometown girl, product of the First Tee of Tulsa and Union High School, it was a satisfying end to her regular season career. Her final-round 1-under 69 lifted her into a tie for ninth and overshadowed her jittery 76-77 start Monday, in which the nerves of playing in front of friends and family showed.

Nadia Majidizadeh
Greta Bruner

For freshman Greta Bruner, it was likely a portent of greater accomplishments to come. The most highly recruited signee of Klein-Gille’s three-year rebuilding effort shot rounds of 71-69-71 for a 1-over 211 and a six-shot victory over Camille Orito of New Mexico State. The Aggies, after led after 36 holes and were virtually even with Tulsa throughout the afternoon, finished second by five shots, thanks in part to Majidizadeh’s birdies on holes 16 and 17 and Bruner’s birdie on 17, her fourth of the round.

The win for Bruner was the first tournament victory for a Tulsa freshman since October 2010 when Kristina Merkle won the Johnnie Imes Invitational. It was the first victory overall for a Tulsa golfer since Merkle won the 2013 Notre Dame Clover Cup and was the first team tournament title since the 2013 UAB Fall Beach Blast.

Oral Roberts University finished sixth as a team, but also showed off its potential with Beatriz Garcia finishing tied for third at 219 (75-69-74) and Kennedy Ishee tied for seventh at 221 (78-69-74).

If emulated by her competitors, Bruner would quickly solve any issues with slow play in collegiate golf. Pushed by her father Steve to keep up when he would take his three daughters golfing as children, she is apt to hit a drive then push her cart off the tee box and run down the fairway. You might catch her twirling her putter over her head like a baton when walking off the green or jumping up at a branch to pull a leaf down just because she can. Youthful enthusiasm she has in spades.

She also has game and lots of it. She consistently blasted the ball well past her playing partners in the final group, but also extricated herself from a lot of sticky situations with a deft short game and solid putting. She overcame driving the ball out-of-bounds right on the par-5 third hole for the second consecutive day and a few other miscues to earn her first collegiate win and third top-10 finish of her freshman campaign. She came into the event sharing the scoring lead with Majidizadeh at 74.6 but will now be the leader.

“Greta is very fiery, but she has a really good head on her shoulders,” Klein-Gille said. “She was nervous today but held it together really well. We got really lucky recruiting her, she was a top 50 player and a lot of people wanted her. I didn’t think we had a chance, but once we talked in person, it was a really good fit for both of us.”

Klein-Gille’s credentials as a former junior champion, collegiate star and major champion on the LPGA Tour didn’t hurt.

“She’s an incredible woman and I knew I would have so much support and knowledge behind me coming here,” Bruner said. “I knew she would be able to get me where I want to go, which is as far as I can with golf.

“This win was a great step for the program. I could have gone a lot of places but I chose Tulsa because I knew I would have a great coach and it’s just really exciting to see us striving to meet the goals we’re setting.”

Majidizadeh sees a bright future for her young teammates, as she is the lone senior. However she would most like to see Tulsa win the American Conference Championship April 16-18 in Palm Coast, Fla., as that would mean TU’s first trip to an NCAA Regional during her career.

“Today feels like an affirmation for what I knew we had and where we’re going,” she said. “We know we have to win at conference to go to regionals and we’re going into it with momentum. I can’t wait to see what we can do.”

Olivia Jackson closed with a 75 to tie for 18th and Nikki Marquardt shot 75 and tied for 41st. Anneke Strobach’s 79 didn’t count, but she still tied for 13th individually helped by her 69 in the second round.

TEAM SCORES

1.      Tulsa                        303-288-290=881

1.      New Mexico State       295-295-296=886

3.      BYU                         307-291-295=893

4.      Fresno State               306-293-301=900

5.      Kansas                      302-297-308=907

T6.    ORU                        311-301-303=915

T6.    Colorado State            309-301-305=915

8.      Cincinnati                 314-308-314=936

9.      Missouri State            319-318-304=941

TULSA TEAM

1.      Greta Bruner                     71-69-71=211

T9.    Nadia Majidizadeh             76-77-69=222

13.     Anneka Strobach               77-69-79=225

T18.   Olivia Jackson                  79-73-75=227

T41.   Nicole Marquardt               86-78-75=239

 

TULSA INDIVIDUALS

T27.   Johanna Samuelsson          80-76-76=232

T33.   Taylor Dobson                 79-77-78=234

49.     Mackenzie Medders            81-80-83=244

 

TOP-5 INDIVIDUALS

1.      Greta Bruner, Tulsa           71-69-71=211

2.      Camille Orito, NMSU       72-72-73=217

T3.    Beatriz Garcia, ORU          76-69-74=219

T3.    Ariadna Fonseca, Kansas    69-72-78=219

T3.    Rose Huang, BYU            75-70-74=219

 

ORAL ROBERTS INDIVIDUALS

T3, Beatriz Garcia  76-69-74 – 219

T7, Kennedy Ishee 78-69-74 – 221

T29, Paty Torres, 78-79-76 – 233

T45, Rebecca Hnidka  79-84-79 – 242

54, Natalie Mattison 92-84-88 – 264


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