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.
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 will vie for playing time right away.
ARKANSAS IN PUERTO RICO: Arkansas made it’s first appearance at the 2006 Lady Puerto Rico Invitational finishing third overall in windy conditions. Arkansas finished third in the 16-team field with No. 25 Florida upsetting its way passed No. 4 Purdue and No. 9 Arkansas for the win.
McCURDY BRINGS HOME THE BACON: Although Arkansas finished third at the event, senior Amanda McCurdy captured the win with a near personal best 214 for medalist honors. The El Dorado, Ark., native led the field after a second-day 68 for her second win of the year.
THIS WEEK: Arkansas travels to the Texas A&M “Mo”Morial Invitational hosted by the Aggies. Arkansas has taken part in four Aggie-hosted “Mo” Morials first in the 2000-01 season. Arknasas finished sixth in the field of 17 with a 937. Arkansas struggled the following year and was 18th in the rain-shortened event but followed up with a runner-up finish in 2002-03 in the field of 19. The event was again shortened to two rounds due to weather. The Lady’Backs finished tied for fourth in 2003-04 carding a 914.
THIS YEAR’S FIELD: This year, the field includes 19 teams. They are Arkansas, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Kent State, Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon State, Purdue, Redland CC, Southern Methodist, Texas A&M, TCU, Tulsa, UTEP and Wisconsin.
MORE ABOUT THE FIELD: Arkansas enters the tournament as the second highest ranked team in the field following Purdue for the sedond tournament in a row.. The Lady’Backs are ranked ninth in Golfstat poll and 10th in the Golfworld poll trailing only Purdue who is fourth in both polls.
INTERESTING HISTORY VERSUS THE FIELD: Arkansas has faced several of the team’s in this week’s field already this year and had some success. In fact, the Lady Razorbacks are 19-4 against the teams at the “Mo” Morial this year. Arkansas opened finishing ahead of Missouri at the Mason Rudolph Invitational and defeated Iowa State,Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska, Notre Dame and Wisconsin at the Tyson/Embassy Suites Invitational in Rogers, Ark. The Lady Razorbacks finished behind Purdue at the Mercedes-Benz Classic but defeated Kent State and SMU at that event. Arkansas trailed Kent State in Las Vegas but defeated SMU, Norte Dame, Missouri, TCU and Oklahoma in Sin City. The Lady’Backs only team loss at the Hooter’s Match Play Championship came at the hands of Texas A&M and Arkansas again finished behind Purdue in Puerto Rico. The Lady’Backs finished ahead of Kent State, Texas A&M, Tulsa, Wisconsin and Iowa State last week.
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 then-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, a mark that currently stands as the program’s lowest round.
THE STARTING FIVE: TBA
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 six tournaments and played 18 rounds with a 73.17 team 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 – a mark that is also a school record.
ABOUT MAHON: Senior Courtney Mahon has also competed in all six events and played 18 rounds this year. The Topeka, Kan., native has a 75.00 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 six events and has 18 competitive rounds under her belt this year. Lewis has a 73.83 stroke average and three top six finishes including a second-place showing at the Tyson/Embassy Suites Invitational.
ABOUT HINSHAW: Senior Lindsey Hinshaw has made the lineup for the sixth time in six events and has played 18 rounds this year. Hinshaw has a 77.67 average this year and has consistently been around the 230 mark. ABOUT NUNN: Freshman Lucy Nunn has competed three times this year, once as an individual at the Tyson/Embassy Suites Invitational. Nunn has a 77.00 average and her best finish was a tie for 25th at the Lady Puerto Rico.
ABOUT THE POLL: Arkansas is currently ranked ninth 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 eighth 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.