About ArkansasThe Lady Razorbacks enjoyed an “off” week last week after back-to-back fifth place finishes to open the year. Arkansas was fifth at the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational in New Mexico and followed up with a fifth-place showing at the Jeannine McHaney Invitational in Lubbock, Texas. The Lady’Backs next travel to Southeastern Conference rival Tennessee for the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship in Knoxville, Tenn.The Tenth AnniversaryAs the 2004-05 season gets underway, the University of Arkansas celebrates its 10th season on the links. Arkansas first fielded a golf team in 1995-96 under one-year head coach Sue Ertl. Ertl actually started in 1994-95 with a year to recruit and build the foundation for the Lady’Backs. Ulrika Fisher (later Belline) took over the program in 1996-97, coaching through the 2001-02 season. She helped Arkansas to its best showing at the Southeastern Conference Championships with a fifth-place finish in 1998-99 and to the team’s first NCAA Regional appearance the following year.This year, the team has 10 players on the roster in the 10th season. It is the largest roster Arkansas has ever fielded.About the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate ChampionshipThis year marks the eighth season Tennessee has hosted the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship in Knoxville. Played a various courses over the years, this season’s event takes place at the Cherokee Country Club. This year, the field is made up of 17 teams and the course plays to a par 71, 7,100 yards.Scheduled to competeThis year’s field includes Alabama, Arkansas, James Madison, Kent State, Kentucky, Louisiana State, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, the Swedish Junior National Team, Tennessee, Tulane, Tulsa, UNC-Wilmington and Virginia.Arkansas at the MercedesThe Lady Razorbacks have competed at the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship one other time finishing sixth last year. The 2003-04 event took place at Fox Den Country Club in Knoxville.Last year’s Mercedes continuedThen sophomore Courtney Mahon finished tied for medalist honors after three rounds of play. Mahon posted a 217 (72-74-71) leading Arkansas and much of the field. She faced Ohio State’s Allison Hanna in a one-hole playoff with Hanna winning the hole. As a team Arkansas shot a 901 (305-300-296).More about the MercedesDid you know Arkansas assistant coach Shauna Estes won the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship? That’s right. Estes played at the University of Georgia and won the Mercedes in 1999 carding a 217 with rounds of 70-71-76. The Bulldogs won the team title that year as well with a 906 (297-303-306).Arkansas in the pollThe Lady Razorbacks opened the year ranked 31st in the preseason Golfweek poll. After one event, however, Arkansas vaulted up to 19th in the poll. The Lady’Backs continue to climb checking in at No. 13 last week (Sept. 27). Arkansas moved to 24th this week after an idle week. See page two for the complete poll.
Arkansas adds eventThe University of Arkansas added a play date to this year’s schedule. Arkansas had one open day and a rain out of the second round at the Jeannine McHaney Invitational freed up another. As a result, the Lady’Backs added the BYU Dixie Classic hosted by Brigham Young April 4-5. The two-day, 54-hole event takes place at Entrada Golf Course in St. George, Utah.About the traveling partyThe traveling party has not been determined at the time of these notes.Records fall early in the yearThe 2004-05 edition of the Lady Razorbacks didn’t waste any time etching their names into the record books. In the first event of the year Stacy Lewis tied the school record with a three-round 216. In addition, Arkansas’ rounds of 299-296-295 all rank in the top seven and the final 890 total is a school record.Records part IIStacy Lewis continued her record-setting play with a first round 68 at the Jeannie McHaney Invitational. That round tied the school record for lowest single round score.About head coach Kelley HesterHead coach Kelley Hester begins her third season with the Lady Razorbacks in 2004-05. Since taking over the reigns, the Lady’Backs have made back-to-back NCAA Regional appearances and nearly rewritten the record books. Hester has an Arkansas school record of 185-135-6 prior to the Jeannine McHaney Invitational.Speaking of the record bookOf the 11 team and individual records kept at Arkansas, nine have been set under head coach Kelley Hester. The two that haven’t are lowest total for a two-round tournament and most rounds in a career. The reason? First, Arkansas has not intentionally played in a two-round tournament since Hester took over. Adrienne Mucci holds that record and set it in 1999. Amanda McCurdy’s name does appear third on that list after the Verizon “Mo” Morial was shorted to two rounds due to rain in 2002.Second, Hester hasn’t been at Arkansas long enough to have one of her players in the most career rounds category. Johanna Danielsson (1997-00) leads that list with 113 rounds played.In the Hester eraSince Kelley Hester took over the top spot for the Lady’Backs Arkansas has enjoy significant success and growth. In two seasons, the Lady’Backs have finished in the top 10 in 16 of the 22 events they have competed in. Arkansas has won three events and had individuals tie for first in three events and one individual (Amanda McCurdy) earn medalist honors.More about the recordsSo what records do the Lady’Backs hold? Amanda McCurdy holds the top three spots for lowest competitive round leading with a 68 carded at the adidas Fall Classic in 2002. She holds the top two spots for lowest three-round tournament total with a pair of 216s and leads Arkansas for lowest stroke average in a season with a 74.85 average in 33 rounds in 2003-04. In addition, she holds the record for lowest stroke average for a career with a 76.23 mark in two seasons and is tied for first for the most rounds in a season with Courtney Mahon. The duo both played 33 rounds in 2003-04.Arkansas’ team records include lowest competitive round in a tournament with a 289 at the adidias Fall Classic in 2002, lowest total for a three-round tournament with an 894 at The Shootout at The Legends, lowest two-round tournament total with a 617 a the Verizon “Mo” Morial (shortened due to weather) and lowest single-season stroke average with a 305.82 all set last season.About the Lady Razorback InvitationalOctober is fast-approaching and so too is the Lady Razorback Invitational Oct. 17-19, at Pinnacle Country Club. This year marks the seventh consecutive season Arkansas has hosted a home event dating back to the first invitational in 1998-99.This year’s event again takes place at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark. The par-72, 6,102-yard course is one of the top courses in the country and has challenged the fields in the past. Arkansas has won three of the six previous home events winning first in 1998-99 and again in 2002-03 and 2003-04.This year’s fieldThe tournament continues to improve with 17 teams taking part in 2004-05. Arkansas, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Notre Dame, Western Michigan and Wisconsin are all making their inaugural appearances while Arkansas (of course), and Oral Roberts are in the field for the seventh consecutive time. Also competing is August State, Illinois State, Iowa State, Mississippi, Nebraska, Southern Mississippi, Southwest Missouri State and Texas El Paso.Give us your Blessings The Lady Razorbacks opened the year in their new home at Blessings in Johnson, Ark. The new course, located just minutes from campus, is a par-72, 7,500-yard course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr.. Also completed is the Fred W. and Mary B. Smith Razorback Golf Training Facility with several indoor practice bays, locker rooms, a video swing analysis station and coaches offices used exclusively by the Lady Razorbacks and Razorbacks.What’s up nextThe Lady Razorbacks host the Lady Razorback Invitational Oct. 17-19, at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark.The rest of the seasonThe Lady’Backs have just one fall event remaining – the Lady Razorback Invitational. Arkansas opens the spring Feb. 21-22, at the Central District Invitational hosted by Michigan State in Parrish, Fla. Arkansas comes home only to turn back around to the Sunshine State for the SunTrust Lady Gator Invitational March 4-6. Arkansas also competes at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Classic, the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic and the Southeastern Conference Championship hosted by Mississippi this year. The Lady’Backs also look to return to the NCAA Regional and the NCAA Championship.