FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The fifth-ranked University of Arkansas women’s golf team begins postseason competition this week at the 2013 Southeastern Conference Championship in Birmingham, Ala.
The SEC Championship has expanded to 14 teams this season and takes place on neutral site golf course at the Greystone Golf and Country Club.
“We are excited and we have prepared all season for this opportunity,” Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor
said. “My philosophy is that we build and get better every week and hopefully we are playing out best golf when we need to at this time of the year. We are focusing on what we can control and the team is excited to get back out and compete. We are excited about the chance to win a championship.”
The Razorbacks are making the program’s 18th consecutive SEC Championship appearance since adding women’s golf for the 1995-96 season. Estes-Taylor is making her sixth appearance as the head coach for the Razorbacks, and her 11th (five as an assistant coach) in program history. Estes-Taylor also made four SEC Championship appearances as a player at her alma mater.
This season, Arkansas has played in eight regular season events finishing in the top five in all of them. Arkansas has six finishes in top three spots including a win at the LSU Golf Classic March 24. It was the first team title since the 2010 season. Arkansas has had two players earn three individual titles this year. Junior Emily Tubert
won the Lady Puerto Rico Intercollegiate and the LSU Tiger Golf Classic while freshman Gabriela Lopez
won the Westbrook Invitational.
Arkansas has finished runner-up at the SEC Championship three times in program history, all under current head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor
. Those program-best finishes came in 2008 at Tennessee where current world No. 1 player Stacy Lewis
won the individual title shooting a two-under 214; in 2009 in South Carolina and again last season when Arkansas hosted the event at Blessings.
Estes-Taylor and the Razorbacks have been consistent with the lineup this spring and travels senior Victoria Vela
, juniors Tubert and Emma Lavy
and freshmen Lopez and Regina Plasencia
to this week’s event.
“One of the great strengths about Gaby and Regina both is that they are so passionate about the game of golf,” Estes-Taylor said. “Their passion and enthusiasm is so contagious and the energy they have brought to this group is amazing. They think every week is a big week and as a coach you yearn for that out of a young group. The team has done a great job of being excited and prepared every time we step out on the course.”
Arkansas is scheduled to tee off at 9:40 a.m. in 10 minute intervals with play beginning on Friday. The Razorbacks are paired with No. 6 Florida and No. 8 Vanderbilt in the first round. They also face No. 3 Alabama, No. 18 Georgia, No. 25 Texas A&M, No. 29LSU, No. 31 Tennessee, No. 34 Kentucky, No. 42 Auburn, No. 43 South Carolina, No. 54 Ole Miss, No. 60 Missouri and No. 64 Mississippi State this week.