Third Times A CharmThis is Arkansas’ third trip to the NCAA Championship in four seasons. Arkansas first earned a trip to the National Championship in 2005 and returned in 2006. The team did not qualify in 2007 (although Stacy Lewis did as an individual) and Arkansas returns as a team again this year.
Regionals Unkind to ArkansasArkansas has competed in seven NCAA Regional Championships since adding golf for the 1995-96. Arkansas’ last four finishes are: eighth (2005), eighth (2006), ninth (2007) and tied for fifth (2008).
Best Regional Finish Part TwoNot only was last week’s tie for fifth place the Lady Razorbacks’ best finish at a Regional, Arkansas’ first round 291 ties the program’s best first-round score at the event. In addition, the 291 is the second-best first-round number posted this year. The lowest first round was a 285 in the second event of the year at the Mercedes Benz Collegiate Classic.
More Regional NotesArkansas scored an 891 which is also a Lady Razorback Regional best. It was the first time Arkansas broke the 900 mark at an NCAA Regional. The team total is also the second-best of the 2008 season.
When Do You Play?Arkansas opens with a pair of practice rounds. The Lady Razorbacks tee it up as a group Sunday at 12:24 p.m. followed by a 10:24 a.m. tee time on Monday on the second day of practice. Arkansas opens play at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday playing with SEC rivals Alabama and South Carolina beginning the number fives. The fours begin at 10:10 a.m., followed by the threes, twos and finally each team’s number one player in 10-minute intervals. Arkansas starts from the first tee on the first day. Play for Arkansas begins on the 10th tee Wednesday with their first tee time scheduled for 2:10 p.m. and the Lady’Backs again play with Alabama and South Carolina.
Second Round WoesSenior Stacy Lewis has finished outside the top five just three times this year. In each of those finishes Lewis carded a 76, 74 and 76 in the second rounds. Those three events were the UCF Invitational, the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic and last week at the NCAA West Regional. What did Lewis do in her next start after the first two tournaments? She won the next tournament she played in. What will that hold for next week? Only time will tell.
Lewis in Round OneAlthough Stacy Lewis has stumbled a few times in the second round, her first rounds have been nearly flawless. The Woodlands, Texas, native is averaging 70.0 in round one with two rounds of 68, five rounds of 69 and two 70s accounting for nine of her 11 scores.
Par Golf – Or BetterStacy Lewis has played in 11 tournaments and counted 32 of 32 rounds this year. In those 32 rounds, Lewis is just five strokes over par for the entire season. Her next closest teammate of this week’s traveling five is Kristin Ingram who is 126 strokes over in 10 tournaments.
Ingram Steps UpSophomore Kristin Ingram stepped up big for Arkansas last week with a career-best tie for ninth place at the 2008 NCAA West Regional. Ingram posted her first sub-par round with a career-best 214 (two-under). She tied her career-best single round with a 73 on the first day and bettered that with a 71 in the second round. Ingram improved again with a career-low 70 in the final round.
About the Course – unm.comSimilar to most layouts, The Championship Course exudes an unique personality and rewards its patrons with a formidable test of skill. The 7,248-yard, par 72 (it will play shorter for this event) course boasts fairways that stretch out long and wide and that bob up and down and to both the right and the left. All of these characteristics add to the difficulty of each hole and challenge you to reach the rolling, well-manicured greens. Stray shots often land in the rough, loose desert sand, water or sagebrush. The near perfect climate of Albuquerque makes The Championship Golf Course at the University of New Mexico a veritable oasis for golf year-round!
Shorter Than MostThis year’s Univ. of New Mexico Championship Golf Course is set up to play 6,069 yards. Arkansas has only played two courses with less length this year. The first was the Mercedes Benz Collegiate Classic in Knoxville, Tenn., and the second was at the UA Ann Rhoads Intercollegiate in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Arkansas finished third in Tennessee and won in Alabama.
The Five MusketeersThe fivesome traveling to the NCAA Championships includes Stacy Lewis, Lucy Nunn, Kristin Ingram, Alex Schulte and Kelli Shean. That combination of Lady Razorbacks has made six of the team’s 11 trips this year. Arkansas has one win, one second place, one third place, two fourth place and one tie for fifth place this season.
New in New MexicoArkansas has traveled to the state of New Mexico just one other time in the program’s history. The Lady Razorbacks competed in Las Cruces, N.M, at the Roadrunner Invitational – in 1996 – the second year of the program. Arkansas was 13th of 19 teams.
Not So New TeamsAlthough the site and state might be first times for Arkansas, the field is not. Arkansas has faced every team in this year’s NCAA field in the program history. In addition, the Lady Razorbacks have played each of the other 23 teams this season. The only real “newcomer” for Arkansas is UC-Davis. The Lady’Backs and UCD had not met before this season and only competed against each other last week at the NCAA West Regional.
SEC RepresentsThe Southeastern Conference had seven of its 12 member institutions earn a trip to the NCAA Championship. That is, by far, the most by any conference. The Pacific-10 had four selections and the Big 12 three. The SEC is represented by Arkansas, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU and South Carolina.
Arkansas vs. The SEC in 2008The Lady Razorbacks have faced Southeastern Conference rivals at nearly every event this year – and fared well. Arkansas is 39-19 against league members including a second-place finish at the 12-team SEC Championship earlier this year.
Whose No. 1?Depends on who you ask. There are three main polls in women’s golf – Golfstat, Golf Week and the NGCA Coaches Poll. The most frequently consulted poll is Golfstat. That poll ranks teams based on statistics. That poll has Duke ranked in the top spot as does the coaches poll. The Golf Week numbers have Southern California in the top position.
Where is Arkansas?The Lady Razorbacks are ranked seventh in this week’s Golfstat poll. Arkansas is 10th in the Golf Week poll and eighth in the coaches poll.
Who is the team to beat?With three polls that is sometimes a tough question to ask. This week, however, the scenario is a bit different. The team to beat is the team in front of you. Remember, the polls all have different issue dates and may change again prior to the start of the regional competition next week.
Lewis Likes The Big Ones Stacy Lewis loves big tournaments as evidenced by her win at the NCAA Championship last year. In addition to that win, Lewis has won two SEC Championships and 12 career events. She has played in four SEC Championships, four NCAA Regional Championships and is making her fourth NCAA Championship appearance this week.
The Supporting Cast Junior Lucy Nunn and sophomores Kristin Ingram and Alex Schulte have each appeared in two NCAA Regional Championships (including this year’s in Sacramento). All three took part in the NCAA Central Regional Championship in Ann Arbor, Mich., last year.
Championship History Since 1982, there have been 10 different women’s teams who have won the NCAA Championship. Arizona State leads the nation with six titles followed by Duke who has won four including three consecutive and enters the tournament this year as the defending champion. Southeastern Conference winners include Florida (twice) and Georgia. No individual has won more than one title.
Lewis Holds The Records Not just some of them – all of them. Here’s a look at Lewis’ season and career marks prior to the start of the NCAA Championship.
|Low Round||66 (2x)||NCAA Champ.||2007*|
|Low 3-Rnd||207||Peg Barnard||2006|
|Low 4-Rnd||282||NCAA Champ.||2007|