GREAT EXPECTATIONS: The University of Arkansas opened the 2005-06 golf season with high expectations and lived up to their billing with a a first-place finish and a pair of third-place showings to open the year.
MEDDERS, McCURDY WIN: Ashley Medders captured medalist honors at the Tyson/Embassy Suites Invitational Oct. 18. Medders fired a career-best 212 (72-71-69) with a career-best 69 in the final round finishing ahead of teammates Courtney Mahon and Stacy Lewis.
Senior Amanda McCurdy matched the effort the following week at the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Classic in Knoxville, Tenn., with a career-best 213 (70-74-69) against the talented field. McCurdy led wire-to-wire winning for the first time this season.
ARKANSAS TRAVELS TO VEGAS: Kelley Hester has a bit of a home coming returning with the team to The Las Vegas Showdown. Hester started the UNLV program a couple years ago before signing on with Arkansas in 2002.
MORE ABOUT VEGAS: UNLV hosts 17 teams in the Fourth Annual Las Vegas Founders Women’s Collegiate Showdown. The three-day, 54-hole event takes place at Anthem Country Club, a par 72, 6,194-yard course.
THE COMPETITION: Scheduled to compete this week is Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, BYU, Colorado State, Eastern Washington, Kent State, Missouri, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pepperdine, SMU, TCU, UCLA, UC-Irvine and host UNLV.
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.
McCURDY HAE BUSY WEEK: Arkansas senior Amanda McCurdy has had a busy fall. The El Dorado, Ark., native competed in The Spirit International Amateur Championship near Houston, Texas, returning home in time for the Tyson/Embassy Suites Invitational last weekend. McCurdy and the team wrapped up their home event Tuesday and borded a plane for Knoxville the following afternoon.
THE STARTING FIVE: The Lady’Backs are in the midst of qualifying for the Vegas event. McCurdy, as last week’s highest finisher, will be among the traveling five but head coach Kelley Hester has the team qualifying for the final two spots in the lineup.
ABOUT THE POLL: Arkansas is currently ranked sixth 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 third in that poll this week.
ANOTHER POLL: The Lady Razorbacks are also doing well in other polls. Arkansas shows up at number five this week in the Golfstat.com poll with a 210-4 record and a 73.71 scoring average.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT ME: Arkansas gains a step at the semester break when Tanica van As joins the team in January after gradating high school in South Africa. Van As comes to Arkansas with a resume full of international experience and honors captured at several courses including her home courses of Wedgwood Golf Club and the Port Elizabeth Golf Club.
Some of van As accomplishments include representing the Eastern Province ladies since 1998 at the age of 12. In addition she became the first girl to be a member of a team in a traditionally boys tournament that same year. Van As’ international experience includes the Jack Newton International Junior Classic in Australia, the Test against the Netherlands in George, South Africa, and the World Junior Golf Championships in Jamaica, Mexico and California. She also competed at the Mexican Ladies Strokeplay, the Junior British Open, the Esperito Santo World Team Championships, SAAB International and the Commonwealth Games.
The youngest of two children to Hennie and Renette van As, she has one older sister, Luschka. Van As’ father is a law professor at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.