About ArkansasThe Lady Razorbacks continue play in the 2004-05 season traveling to Lubbock, Texas, this week for the Jeannine McHaney Invitational, hosted by Texas Tech University. Making the trip is freshman Stacy Lewis, juniors Amanda McCurdy, Courtney Mahon, seniors Sarah Trew and Lina Axelsson. Junior Lindsey Hinshaw is also traveling and will compete as an individual.
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 Jeannine McHaney InvitationalThe Jeannine McHaney Invitational takes place on The Rawls Course on the campus of Texas Tech University. The Rawls Course has been open a year this week and added a feather to its cap when Golfweek Magazine ranked it third among all university-owned golf courses in the country. This week’s event plays 7,207 yards on the par 72 course. This is the first year for this event on the recently completed course.
Scheduled to competeThe Lady’Backs face a top-notch field competing against Arkansas State, Baylor, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oral Roberts, Sam Houston State, Southern Methodist, Texas Christian, Texas Tech A, Texas Tech B and Xavier.
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. See page two for the complete poll.
Last time outThe Lady Razorbacks jumped up into fifth place at the 26th Annual Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M., Sept. 13-15. Arkansas was paced by a fourth-place finish from redshirt freshman Stacy Lewis and a tie for 10th place from junior Amanda McCurdy.
About the traveling partyFreshman Stacy Lewis leads the Lady’Backs into action this week at the Jeannine McHaney Invitational. Lewis redshirted last season after having back surgery the summer before her freshman season. She led wire-to-wire during the first Arkansas qualifier and announced herself with a fourth-place showing at the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational. Sophomore Amanda McCurdy picked up this fall right where she left off last summer with a solid tie for 10th place last week. McCurdy carded a 74-74-72=220 for Arkansas. Sophomore Courtney Mahon and junior Sarah Trew both get their second starts of the year with senior Lina Axelsson earning a spot as well. Axelsson missed the final weeks of the 2003-04 season after breaking her hand. Also traveling is Lindsey Hinshaw who will compete as an individual. Hinshaw made the cut last weekend for the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational.
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.
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 BlessingsThe 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 Marlon Blackwell Architects in Fayetteville, Ark. 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 travel to Knoxville, Tenn., Oct. 8-10, for the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship hosted by the University of Tennessee. The eighth-annual event takes place on the par-72, 7,100-yard course at the Cherokee Country Club in Knoxville. Ohio State returns to defend its crown along with Alabama, Arkansas, James Madison, Kent State, Kentucky, Louisiana State, Michigan State, Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue, the Swedish Junior National Team, host Tennessee, Tulane, Tulsa, UNC-Wilmington and Virginia. This is the second consecutive year Arkansas has participated in the event. The Lady’Backs finished sixth last year in the 17-team competition. Arkansas carded a 305-300-296=901 in that outing.
The rest of the seasonThe Lady’Backs have just two fall events remaining – the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship and 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.