Outstanding season ends at Regionals

University of Idaho standout golfer RENEE SKIDMORE, the Western Athletic Conference Golfer of the Year and an at-large invitee to this week's NCAA West Regionals, opened the tournament with a one-over par 73 on Thursday, then fell out of National Tournament contention with a pair of 8-over par rounds to finish tied at 52nd overall (field of 108 golfers). She had a fantastic sophomore season, and will keep things going with a busy amateur schedule this summer.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Larry Johnson was on-hand this week for all three days of the NCAA West Regionals taking place at Washington National Golf Course in Auburn, Washington. On Thursday he submitted a photo-shoot of the event, and Saturday caught up with Vandal golf standout Renee Skidmore for a post-tournament interview (presented below).

We wish to congratulate Renee on a fantastic sophomore season...a season in which she was named the Western Athletic Conference Golfer of the Year on top of an already impressive list of accomplishments in just two years of NCAA competition - a list which includes two NCAA Regional appearances, being selected by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association as the Women's Golfer of the Year (2004), taking second overall at the WAC Championships last month, and a Big West Conference Championship as a freshman (2004).

Congratulations also to Idaho's men's and women's golf Head Coach Brad Rickel, who has routinely fielded competitive, championship-caliber teams since taking over the program in 1999. During Rickel's tenure the Vandal women have finished second or better at the Big West Conference Tournament three times, and this year took third in their inaugural season in the WAC. Both the men and women have won a Big West Conference Championship under Rickel.

This weekend Renee opened with a stellar 1-over par 73 to finish Day 1 tied for 14th place. However, on each of the last two days of competition Renee shot 8-over par 80s, finishing in a tie for 52nd place overall (field of 108 golfers), and out of National Tournament contention.

Congratulations once again to Renee on a fantastic season, and good luck to both the women's and men's squads next year.

Larry Johnson: Can you tell us about Day 1, how did that go for you?

Renee Skidmore: My first round went really well. I probably had the best ball-striking of that day that I've probably had all season. I hit 15 greens, had 34 putts, and got up-and-down twice, two-out-of-two times. So, that was really solid, I shot 73. I was really happy with the way I played. I didn't have one birdie though, I had 17 pars and one bogey. So it was consistent, but nothing was dropping. I think that was pretty much the story for this week…my putts didn't drop at all.

Renee shot an 8-over par 80 on the second day of competition.

LJ: On Day 2 you shot an 80 … how did round 2 go?

RS: I felt like I had one bad hole…I had a triple on a par 4, and it was my third [hole]. I felt like I couldn't quite let go of it. Not necessarily the fact that I was thinking about the shot that I hit, but like I was trying to play good, rather than just letting myself play good. But, I missed a number of 5-footers yesterday also, and so I feel like if I would have made the five 5-footers that I missed, I would have shot 75. Yesterday was probably my putting and one bad swing.

LJ: Yes, you had the one hole [early] on number-3 where you went out of bounds and took a 7, but you recovered quite well.

RS: Thank you.

LJ: Now today, in the final round, you shot an 80 and how did today go for you?

RS: Today was a bit shaky also. I feel like I was spraying the ball everywhere. It would go left and then it would go right. I started out well … I started with two solid pars, which was good and I was hitting the greens. And then I got up and down on the third hole, which was number-12. But after that I felt like I was pulling my driver, then I pulled a shot on number-18, which was my ninth hole, and that set me up for another bogey. Then I bogeyed this par-5, number-1, because I started flaring my approach shots. I started hitting them right. Usually that happens when my timing gets off. So I wouldn't necessarily say it was my putting that cost me today, it was quite a few swings.

Renee shot an 8-over par 80 on the final day, finishing tied at 52nd overall out of the field of 108 competitors.

LJ: Can you tell us how you got here [qualified for the NCAA West Regionals]?

RS: I got here because of playing solid golf through the fall of this season, and especially this spring. I played relatively well through many of the tournaments, and so it set me up for good position for my stroke average, and I think that's one of the things they considered in taking people to regionals. Also my play in conference probably helped also…I tied for second there, and so that probably pulled me up a lot as well. Brad mentioned to me, going into conference, I had the lowest stroke average going into conference. I was in solid position going into conference, but my play in conference helped me advance to Regionals.

LJ: What kind of tournaments are you going to play in this summer?

RS: On Monday I'm going to try to qualify for the U.S. Men's Open. And then my next tournament after that will be the Public Links which will be in Colorado. And then I'll try to qualify for the US Women's Am, which will be at Pumpkin Ridge. And then possibly the Washington Women's Amateur. If I don't qualify for the Women's Am, then I'll probably play in the PNGA. So, I have a bunch of them.

LJ: Are there any specific things that you can say in training or preparation for Regionals that you have done.

RS: During the off-season I can say that working out has been a big contribution to my game. I feel like I can hit the ball farther, which I do, so that always helps with longer courses. I practice my short game a lot. I love putting, it's my favorite part of the game. So, I could spend hours on the putting green just putting, and I also like chipping…creating shots.

LJ: Do you use the weight room at Idaho very much?

RS: I do during the off-season. I haven't used it as much during spring as I should. I just tried to focus on school a little bit more, but next year I know I'm going to have to be consistent with working out, because it does help me so much.

LJ: Well, thank you very much and good luck next year.

RS: Thank you very much.


Coach Brad Rickel and Renee discuss strategy on the second day of competition.

Second day of competition action.

Second day of competition action.

Second day of competition action.

Second day of competition action.

Second day of competition action.

Second day of competition action.

Third day of competition action.

Third day of competition action.

Third day of competition action.

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