About ArkansasLUBBOCK, Texas — A final round 304 allowed the 18th-ranked University of Arkansas women’s golf team to leapfrog two teams climbing into eighth place at the 2005 NCAA Central Region Championship and earn the programs first-ever trip to the NCAA Championship. “It’s kind of funny,” said head coach Kelley Hester. “We came off the course in ninth or 10th place and I gave the team the ‘too bad, we were so close, looks like we missed it by one stroke like at SECs’ speech. Then, all of a sudden, we were back in it.” Arkansas finished the Regional shooting a 915 with rounds of 300, 311 and finishing with a 304 paced by junior El Dorado, Ark., native Amanda McCurdy’s 75. McCurdy had struggled much of the event but stepped up big for the Lady’Backs in the final round. The First TimeThe 2005 appearance at the NCAA Championship is the first-ever in the 10-year history of the Arkansas golf program. Arkansas has made four NCAA Regional appearances, first in 1999-00 under head coach Ulrika Belline. The Lady’Backs have made three consecutive regional showings since Kelley Hester took over in 2002-03.About the NCAA Championship FieldTop-ranked Duke leads the field in the 24-team NCAA Championship in Sunriver, Ore. Second-ranked UCLA, No. 3 Arizona State, No. 4 Pepperdine and No. 5 Auburn are also in the field. See the list at the right for the entire field.Arkansas One of the Last InThe Lady Razorbacks, No. 15 Washington and No. 21 Stanford, were the last three teams who earned a trip to the NCAA Championships by finishing eighth in their respective regionals. Arkansas, however, posted the highest score of any team getting into the Championships with a 915. Stanford posted a 908 and Washington a 900.About Sunriver MeadowsThe Meadows was designed by acclaimed golf course architect and former U.S. Amateur Champion John Fought. With towering Mt. Bachelor as it’s backdrop, Meadows winds along side the beautiful Sun River and through strands of Ponderosa and Lodge Pole Pine. Featuring bent grass tees and greens and Fought’s dramatic use of directional and fore-bunkers, Meadows serves up ample challenges for all. On or off the course, Sunriver Resort is the Northwest’s vacation destination. For the largest selection of rooms, suites, condominiums and homes and for information on golf, ski and family vacations, call Sunriver Resort.Strong FinishesArkansas has been strong in most of their final rounds all season. The Lady Razorbacks average 302.8 strokes in final round play – the lowest stroke average for any of the rounds. Arkansas averages 303.36 in the first round and 306.22 in the second.Records falling at ArkansasKelley Hester took over an Arkansas golf program that was 367-618-7. Since Hester took over Arkansas is 298-210-7 including a 126-48-1 (.723) record this year.More About RecordsThe Lady Razorbacks have rewritten the record books since head coach Kelley Hester took over for the 2002-03 season. The lowest competitive round record fell just last weekend when redshirt freshman Stacy Lewis counted a 67 in the final round of the SEC Championships. That mark erased a 68 that both Lewis and junior Amanda McCurdy held. Lewis also finished the SEC Championship with a three-round 214 bettering the previous record of 216 also held by both Lewis and McCurdy. Lewis holds the record for lowest two-round tournament with a 141 in the rain-shortened Jeannine McHaney Invitational this year bettering the 147 of Adrienne Mucci set in 1999. The single-season stroke average is also in jeopardy with Lewis’ 74.25 stroke average. Although the season is not over, the current record is 74.85 held by McCurdy and set last season. Lewis and McCurdy will also challenge the single-season rounds played record this year. The current record is 33 held by McCurdy and Courtney Mahon and set in the 2003-04 season. Lewis, Courtney Mahon and McCurdy have 31 rounds played this year with four more to play at the NCAA Championship.As a team, Arkansas tied the record for lowest single round with a 289 in the first round of the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Classic this year. They bettered the previous three-round total of 894 set in 2003 with an 881 set at the Central District Invitational in the first event of the spring and bettered the two round total with a 602 at the Jeannine McHaney Invitational. Finally, the team is on track to set the lowest single-season team stroke average mark. The current record is 305.82 set last year. This year’s team average is 304.0 heading into NCAAs.Arkansas’ Regional HistoryThis year marks the fourth that Arkansas has traveled to Regionals. The first trip came in 1999-00 when the Ulrika Belline-lead team was selected to the East Regional. There were only two regionals (East and West) at that time and the Lady’Backs traveled to Ohio State finishing 24th out of 25 teams.Kelley Hester took over the program in 2002-03 and promptly guided Arkansas to back-to-back-to-back Regional appearances in the three-region alinement. In 2003, the Lady’Backs traveled to Lincoln, Neb., finishing tied for 15th overall in the 21-team field. Arkansas was 16th last year in Normal, Ill.
Individuals at RegionalsSenior Gena Johnson made her first Regional appearance last year while juniors Amanda McCurdy and Courtney Mahon have been twice.Johnson withdrew last year after a scorecard mistake on the first day. McCurdy tied for 44th in her first appearance, she carded a 237 (80-76-81). She tied for 15th last year with McCurdy shooting a 228 (76-76-77). Mahon tied for 24th in her freshman season with a 231 (75-78-78). She tied for 63rd last year scoring a 238 (77-82-79).Senior Sarah Trew helped Arkansas at Regionals last year tying for 78th overall with a 242 (77-85-80).About SECsThe Lady Razorbacks found themselves in a nail-biter the final day of the 2005 Southeastern Conference Championship in Tunica, Miss.. Arkansas teed off at 8:30 a.m., as one of the first six teams on the golf course. When the Lady’Backs finished around 2:00 p.m., they came into the club house in fifth place overall with six teams, including the top teams, still out on the course. As the Lady’Backs grabbed a quick lunch, the temperatures elevated on the golf course along with everyone’s scores. By the time the Lady’Backs finished lunch, it looked as though there could be a three-way tie for the win – and Arkansas was among the leaders.The Lady Razorbacks waited on pins and needles by the leader board as score reports and updates came in from the 18th hole but, when all the numbers were totaled, Arkansas found itself on the outside looking in — by one stroke. Third-ranked Auburn surrendered a 24-stroke lead in the final round and was caught by No. 4 Georgia forcing a playoff that Auburn won in two holes.About Stacy LewisRedshirt freshman Stacy Lewis posted a school and course record 67 winning the individual the 2005 Southeastern Conference Championship individual title in Tunica, Miss., Sunday.Lewis birdied the 10th hole giving the Woodlands, Texas, native the lead for good as she finished with a 67 on the day and 214 (72-75-67).“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” said Lewis. “It’s amazing. I really didn’t start to feel it until about the fourth or fifth hole. It was just so easy today. I kept my composure and made a lot of putts today.”Lewis opened the day with a blistering three-under 33 on the par-72, 6,281-yard Tunica National Golf Course as she and the Lady Razorbacks teed off from number one. She ripped her tee shot off number one, a 345-yard straight away par four, staying out of the multiple water and bunker hazards, to go one-under right away.She played the next two holes even but bettered her score with birdies on four and five. Lewis drained a lengthy putt on the fourth hole, a 162-yard par-3 and a sloping green. She improved to three-under on the fifth hole, a 349-yard dog-leg left.Lewis went lower at the turn counting a three on the par-4 tenth hole but gave it back on the 12th hole remaining at three-under. Three birdies and a bogey on the back left Lewis at five under on the day giving Arkansas its first ever SEC winner. Lewis’ victory is the third of the season for the freshman.Lewis’ finish is the best in program history bettering the previous mark, a tie for fifth overall, from Lina Axelsson in 2003, in Lexington, Ky. The Lady’Backs had two other top 10 finishes, both tied for ninth with Kristy Kortuem in 2000 and Adrienne Mucci in 1999.More About ArkansasAs a team Arkansas improved several spots for a third-place finish, also the best ever in school history. The Lady Razorbacks posted a final round 295 with a solid 73 from senior Gena Johnson. Senior Lindsey Hinshaw improved in the final round as well counting a 77 while junior Courtney Mahon posted a 78. Junior Amanda McCurdy eagled the 10th hole, the only eagle of the tournament, finishing with a 79 on the day.Johnson tied for 19th was the senior’s best conference finish ever as was McCurdy’s tie for 26th overall.Lewis in the pollsRedshirt freshman Stacy Lewis is ranked 14th in the country this week in the most recent Golfweek.com poll with a player rating of 72.63. Lewis is the third highest ranked SEC player trailing No. 5 Diana Ramage of Auburn and Tennessee’s Violeta Retamoza who is seventh. She is the only freshman in the top 15. More about Lewis (prior to Regionals)Stacy Lewis is tied for 11th in the country for low round with her 67 from the SEC Championship. She is 36th in the country for first round scoring average with a 74.60 mark and 22nd in the country in her final round scoring average with a 73.70 mark. She is 21st in the nation on her average score with a 74.00 and 22nd with a 2.21 mark compared to par. Lewis ranks 14th in the country for par four scoring wit a 4.15 and is tied for 28th in birdies with 65 this year. Lewis averages 11.96 pars per round to rank eighth overall and is sixth for bogeys per round with just 2.96.Nine SEC Teams Make NCAA Regional FieldINDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Committee has announced the teams and individuals selected to participate in the 2005 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships Regionals. Nine SEC Teams made the field of 63 for the event. In the East Regional, hosted by the University of Florida, will be Florida, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. In the Central Regional, hosted by Texas Tech, will be Auburn, LSU and Arkansas while Georgia and Tennessee will be participating in the West Regional at New Mexico State University. Three regional tournaments will be conducted May 5-7 to determine the championships field. Regional tournaments are considered preliminary rounds of NCAA championships competition, and all national championships policies will apply. A total of 324 participants have been selected for the regional competition. Of these players, 126 will advance to the championships finals May 17-20. Eight teams and two individuals will advance from each region. The championships finals will be held at Sunriver Resort on the Meadows Course, Sunriver, Oregon, hosted by Oregon State University and Sunriver Resort. Four SEC Teams Move OnFour of the nine Southeastern Conference teams who advanced to regional play moved on last week to the NCAA Championship in Sunriver, Ore. Auburn and Arkansas both made it out of the Central Regional while Tennessee advanced from the West and Florida held on in the East. Auburn, ranked third this week, won the Central with No. 20 Arkansas hanging on for eighth place to earn a trip. Tennessee tied for the win in the West while Florida was seventh in the East Regional that the Gators hosted on their home course.The teams who did not advance: In the Central: LSU (10); In the East: South Carolina (9), Vanderbilt (10) and Mississippi State (16); In the West: Georgia (9).Up NextThis is the final collegiate event of the season. Several players will play in amateur events this summer.