This WeekIt’s a busy spring “break” for the Arkansas women’s golf team as they travel first to Austin, Texas, for the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational March 17-19, followed by a trip to Athens, Ga., for the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic March 21-23.
Who’s traveling? Great question. The rain and cold temperatures in Northwest Arkansas have delayed qualifying and head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor has not finalized the traveling five for this week. Last week, Arkansas sent seniors Stacy Lewis and Whitney Sylvan, junior Lucy Nunn, sophomore Kristin Ingram and freshman Kelli Shean into battle. But Estes-Taylor made it clear the “five” spot was open with a chance for a change.
Maybe we’ll take 6! There is a chance that the Lady Razorbacks could travel six athletes this week. It is spring break and there are two events so a sixth player may be in the cards.
About the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Classic in Austin, TexasThis year’s 17-team field has a very “Central Region” flair to it giving Arkansas a chance to see some new faces. The field includes: Arkansas, Baylor, Florida, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, SMU, TCU, Texas and Wisconsin.
More About the BetsyArkansas has played the Betsy five times finishing fourth in the field of 14 last year carding a 923 (306-309-308). This year’s event will again take place at the University of Texas Golf Course and play to a par 72, 6,344 yards. Purdue won last year’s event with a plus-43 907 with Boilermaker Maria Hernandez earning medalist honors with a one-over 217 (77-70-70). Arkansas’ Stacy Lewis was second overall shooting a 218 (76-72-70).
About the Liz Murphey The Liz Murphey has been a staple of Arkansas golf since the program began in Fayetteville. This year Arkansas takes on 17 other teams including Alabama, Auburn, Duke, Florida State, Furman, Georgia, Kent State, Kentucky, LSU, Purdue, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Central Florida, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Wake Forest.
More about the LizThis year’s 54-hole, three-day event will play the UGA Golf Course to a par 71, 6,260 yards. Last year’s tournament was won by Auburn who posted an 881. Purdue’s Maria Hernandez and Virginia’s Leah Wigger tie for the win as the Lady Razorbacks posted their best finish with a third-place showing. Stacy Lewis tied for 10th ovrall shooting a 220 (74-75-72).
Good numbers in openersArkansas has posted solid numbers in the first two tournaments of the year. Although the Lady Razorbacks finished 12th in last week’s UCF Invitational, it is one of the best fields outside the NCAA Championship and the Lady’Backs improved their scores with each round. Several individuals had career and/or season-bests in Florida last week.
Who is the team to beat? Both tournaments are tough and Arkansas will certainly have its hands full as the month of March winds down.
More about LewisStacy Lewis has won three consecutive collegiate events dating back to last fall. Lewis won the Stanford Intercollegiate, the UA Ann Rhodes and most recently the Lady Puerto Rico. She is the first player in school history to win three in a row and has won three events in back-to-back seasons (as a junior and senior).
Lewis earns SEC Golfer of the WeekStacy Lewis earned Southeastern Conference Golfer of the Week honors after winning last week’s Lady Puerto Rico. It was the first league weekly honor of the year and the fifth for Lewis’ career.
March is a busy monthTo say the least!! Arkansas opens at the UCF Invitational March 9-11, travels to the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Classic March 17-19, on to the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic March -21-23 and wraps up with the Bryan National Collegiate March 28-30. The conclusion of March signals the beginning of post season at the SEC Championship April 18-20.
A Coaching Name ChangeBy now, everyone is aware of the coaching change for this season as former head coach Kelley Hester departed for her alma mater and assistant coach Shauna Estes took over. There is another new twist for Estes — she got married in January. Estes will keep her maiden name and hyphenate it with her married name which is Taylor. She is now Shauna Estes-Taylor.