GREAT EXPECTATIONS: The University of Arkansas opened the 2005-06 golf season with high expectations and lived up to their billing with a solid fall campaign. February began the spring season with six events heading up to the NCAA Championship hosted by Ohio State May 17-20.
ABOUT LAST WEEK: Arkansas finished fifth at the 2006 Southeastern Conference Championship hosted by Vanderbilt at the Ironhorse Course at the Legends. Senior Amanda McCurdy paced Arkansas finishing tied for 18th overall with a three-day 224. Senior Lindsey Hinshaw tied for 21st recording her best SEC finish and her best finish of the 2005-06 season.
THIS WEEK: Arkansas is off this week awaiting word of the NCAA Regional selection.
THE NCAA SELECTION: NCAA Regional selections will be announced Monday, May 1st. All regional advisory co-chairs (or their replacements) will participate on the call. Prior to the national call (not later than 10 a.m. Central time, May 1), chairs will conduct a call with regional advisory committees to formulate recommendations.
After all teams and individuals have been selected, the women’s golf committee will assign pairings and tee times for the first two rounds based on seed within each region. For the second round, players’ positions will change within their teams based on first round scores. Tee times will be reversed for the second day. For the third round, teams will be paired according to score.
ARKANSAS IS IN THE CENTRAL: There are three regions for collegiate women’s golf. They are the West, East and Central and the Lady’Backs are in the Central Region.
WHO ELSE IS IN THE CENTRAL? The Central Region is made up of 73 Division I schools in 15 states
THE SEC IS STRONG: The Southeastern Conference continues to be among the leaders for women’s golf and this year’s championship field was a tough one. Golfweek, one of the most commonly used collegiate polls, currently lists Georgia as the No. 4 team in the country and the highest ranked SEC team. Auburn is a close second, ranked No. 5, followed by No. 9 Arkansas, No. 11 Tennessee, No. 15 Vanderbilt, No. 16 Florida, No. 27 South Carolina, No. 34 LSU, No. 39 Alabama, No. 48 Mississippi State, No. 57 Kentucky and No. 85 Mississippi State. All rankings as of Sunday, April 9.
SOME INTERESTING NUMBERS: Arkansas more than eclipsed its scoring goals last fall and the numbers continue to look good this spring. In the fall, Arkansas averaged a 294 in the first round, 297.25 in round two, and 291.5 in third round. The Lady’Backs averaged 882.75 for the fall.
This spring numbers are slightly higher against several courses that Arkansas is seeing for the first time. Arkansas is averaging 308.90 in the first round, 301.20 in round two and 303.20 in the third round. Arkansas’ third round average was hurt a bit by the highest round of the season – a 315 at Texas A&M.
ARKANSAS’ NUMBERS GOOD EARLY: The Lady Razorbacks have posted some impressive numbers early in the season. Arkansas’ 876 at their home Tyson/Embassy Suites Invitational was a program best and the first time the team has played under par for the tournament. The Lady’Backs single round 286 on the final day was also a program best. Arkansas carded an 882 at Las Vegas in another good showing.
WIN-LOSS: A win-loss record isn’t something we talk much about in golf but if we did, Arkansas would have an impressive 98-31-1 mark for a .758 winning percentage this year. Arkansas is a very impressive 52-6-1 (.889) against teams in the Central Region this year. Arkansas is also 21-25-1 against the top 25.
THE STARTING FIVE: Kelley Hester’s traveling five should come as no surprise to those who follow Lady’Back golf. Making the trip to the 2006 SEC Championship were seniors Amanda McCurdy, Courtney Mahon and Lindsey Hinshaw along with sophomores Stacy Lewis and Ashley Medders. They are most likely the traveling five for the NCAA Regional Championship as well.
ABOUT MCCURDY: Arkansas senior Amanda McCurdy has played in every event since joining the Lady’Backs as a freshman. This year, the El Dorado, Ark., native has competed in seven tournaments and played 27 rounds with a 74.30 stroke average. She has two wins under her belt (Mercedes and Puerto Rico) and two top five finishes this year. Her low round of the year was a 213 (Mercedes)- a mark that is also a school record. McCurdy is currently ranked No. 20 in the Golfweek individual poll and is the highest ranked Lady’Back in the poll. She ranks tied for 10th in the SEC, also the best for a Lady’Back.
ABOUT MAHON: Senior Courtney Mahon has also competed in all nine events and played 27 rounds this year. The Topeka, Kan., native has a 75.85 stroke average and three top 15 finishes including a second-place showing at the Tyson/Embassy Suites Invitational.
ABOUT LEWIS: Sophomore Stacy Lewis exploded onto the Arkansas golf scene winning last year’s SEC Championship individual title. She has also played in all nine events and has 27 competitive rounds under her belt this year. Lewis has a 74.48 stroke average and four top six finishes including a second-place showing at the Tyson/Embassy Suites Invitational.
ABOUT HINSHAW: Senior Lindsey Hinshaw has made the lineup in each event this year playing 27 rounds to date. Hinshaw has a 77.59 average this year and has consistently been around the 230 mark. She recorded her best SEC finish with a tie for 21st last week.
ABOUT MEDDERS: Sophomore Ashley Medders returned to the lineup for her first Southeastern Conference Championship appearance last week. Medders has played in seven events winning the Tyson/Embassy Suites Invitational as an individual. She has a 76.81 stroke average this season.
ABOUT THE POLL: Arkansas is currently ranked 10th in this week’s Golfweek Top 50. The Lady’Backs were ranked as high as second early in the year which is the highest ranking in the Golfweek poll ever for the golf program. In addition, the golf team becomes the third-highest ranked women’s team at the University behind cross country and indoor track, both of whom have been No. 1.
YOU’VE COME A LONG WAY: Head coach Kelley Hester took over the Lady Razorback golf program in 2002-03. In the final poll prior to Hester taking over, the Lady Razorbacks were ranked 82nd in the Golfweek poll. Arkansas is 10th in that poll this week.
HESTER’S FIRST SENIOR CLASS: That’s right, head coach Kelley Hester has her first senior class at Arkansas. That class consists of Lindsey Hinshaw, Amanda McCurdy, Courtney Mahon and Sarah Trew.
NEWCOMER JOINS TEAM: Arkansas welcomed the addition of freshman Tanica van As to the roster at the semester. Van As just graduated from high school in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and redshirt this season.