NCAA ANNOUNCES TEAMS: INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA has released the teams and individuals that have advanced to the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships. The championships will be conducted May 23-26, at the Scarlet Course, Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State University is hosting the championships. Three regional competitions were held May 11-13. Of the 324 regional participants, 126 advanced to the finals. Eight teams and two individuals, not on a selected team, advanced from each regional. All participants will compete throughout the entire 72 holes of competition. In the team competition, the low four scores for each team will count in each day’s total score. See the complete list to the right
RECENTLY FOR ARKANSAS: Arkansas finished eighth at the NCAA West Regional Championship at Washington National Golf Course in Auburn, Wash., to qualify. Sophomore Stacy Lewis emerged as the team’s leader finishing tied for 11th overall with a 222.
McCURDY FIRES 69: Senior Amanda McCurdy opened West Regional Championship play with a near-career best 69. McCurdy was tied for second after the first round but higher scores in rounds two and three saw her fall to a tie for 40th overall.
MORE ABOUT THIS YEAR’S FIELD: This year’s field is again headlined by some of the top program’s in women’s golf. Duke is among the best and returns having won three consecutive national titles. Here’s a list of the other teams in this year’s field who were also in last year’s field (their 2005 finish is in parenthesis):UCLA (2), Auburn (3), Pepperdine (4), California (5), Tennessee (6), Arizona State (t8), Oklahoma State (t8), Florida (10), Arkansas (t11), Southern California (t11), Washington (14), Stanford (19), Purdue (20).
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. Seven SEC teams advanced to the NCAA Championship. They are Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee.
THE SECOND TIME IN AS MANY YEARS: Arkansas has reached the NCAA Championship for the second time in as many years. 2005-06 marks the 10th season of golf at Arkansas and this is the program’s second ever appearance at the National Championship.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP FORMAT: The championship is a 72-hole format with two flights each of the four days. The total number of participants is 126.
MORE PRACTICE? Arkansas, and the rest of the field, have two practice rounds before the National Championship. Arkansas’ practices at 12:36, the last team practice slot, on Sunday. Arkansas tees off at 10:36 on Monday.
TEE TIMES: First round tee times for Arkansas begin at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday from hole 10 in descending order. Arkansas is paired with SEC rival Alabama and Central Region opponent Nebraska in the first round. Arkansas remains paired with the Crimson Tide and Huskers for second round action Wednesday with groups beginning at 1:10 p.m. Thursday and Friday’s tee times are determined by scores after the first two rounds.
THE COURSE (from ohiostatebuckeyes.com): The Ohio State University Scarlet Course was established in 1938 and designed by Dr. Alister MacKenzie. It is a par 72, 6203-yard course. The noncompetitive course record is 64 while the competitive course record is a 66. The Scarlet Course has been host to tournaments like the USGA Junior Championships, U.S. Open Qualifier, AJGA Tournament of Champions, Kepler Intercollegiate, Lady Buckeye Invitational, Northern Intercollegiate, Rolex Fall Preview, PING/Golfweek Preview, Big Ten Championships and 14 Women’s National Championships.
Scarlet Course Scorecard
HAVE I BEEN HERE BEFORE? Arkansas might be asking themselves that very question. The Lady Razorbacks earned the program’s first NCAA Regional appearance in 2000 and competed at the Scarlet Course at The Ohio State May 10-12. The Lady’Backs finished 23rd at that regional and did not advance. That was the only time Arkansas has competed at The Ohio State and the course has seen several renovations and improvements. The traveling five have never played this course in a collegiate competition.
ARKANSAS AGAINST THE FIELD: The Lady Razorbacks have seen everyone in this year’s field at least once. Arkansas has faced Georgia five times and has yet to top the Bulldogs. Arkansas is a combined 25-36-1 against the field with the lone tie coming against Texas A&M in Aggies home event. The Aggies went on to win the playoff. Arkansas has three wins against Alabama, Florida and Kent State and two against Arizona, Oklahoma State and Nebraska during the regular season.
LEWIS MOVES INTO LEAD: Arkansas sophomore Stacy Lewis has steadily improved her numbers during the spring season. She moved into the top spot on the Lady’Backs’ roster for stroke average after her 11th place showing last week. Lewis is currently averaging 74.43 strokes per round with 2233 strokes over 30 rounds to lead the team.
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 NCAA Championship are seniors Amanda McCurdy, Courtney Mahon and Lindsey Hinshaw along with sophomores Stacy Lewis and Ashley Medders.
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 10 tournaments and played 30 rounds with a 74.57 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 10 events and played 30 rounds this year. The Topeka, Kan., native has a 76.03 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 10 events and has 30 competitive rounds under her belt this year. Lewis has a team-leading 74.43 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 30 rounds to date. Hinshaw has a 77.70 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 earlier this year and also qualified for the regionals last week.. Medders has played in eight events winning the Tyson/Embassy Suites Invitational as an individual. She has a 76.78 stroke average this season.
ABOUT NUNN: Freshman Lucy Nunn is also making the trip this week. Although not expected to be in the lineup, Nunn has played in four events and tied for 25th place at the 2006 Lady Puerto Rico Invitational. She competed as an individual at the Tyson/Embassy Suites Invitational and took part at the match play and Texas A&M events.
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 11th 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.