FAYETTEVILLE — The tests get more difficult each week as the semester continues for the 20th-ranked University of Arkansas women’s golf team as the Lady Razorbacks travel to Palo Alto, Calif., for the Stanford Intercollegiate.
Arkansas faces some of the best teams from the West Region, but head coach Shauna Estes’ team has improved in their first two outings of the season posting back-to-back third place finishes to open the year.
The Lady Razorbacks face a tough field that includes top-ranked UCLA, No. 2 Duke, No. 4 Arizona State, No. 8 Arizona and No. 9 California all of whom are in the top 10 in this week’s Golfstat poll.
"The competition this week will be the best we see all fall for sure," said Estes. "It is a good mix of the best talent in college golf. It will be the only time this fall we see the top West Coast teams. It will be a great way to see how we measure up."
Arkansas measured up well in the early part of 2007. Senior Stacy Lewis has two third-place finishes and junior Lucy Nunn, sophomore Kristin Ingram and freshman Kelli Shean all have top 20 finishes. Sophomore Alex Schulte joins the team again this week rounding out the traveling five.
The fall schedule is a tough one for Arkansas with three consecutive weekends of play. The Lady’Backs finished third a the Mercedes Benz Intercollegiate last weekend, take part in the Stanford Intercollegiate this weekend and travel to the UA Ann Rhodes Intercollegiate Oct. 26-28 as the fall season concludes.
"I think a quick turn-around is an advantage because we saw some success last week," said Estes. "I want to make sure the team is rested but their games are coming around nicely and I think it is a great thing to be competing alot right now."
Arkansas has posted good numbers early. The Lady’Backs carded 285 in the first round at Tennessee – a mark that is the second-best round the Cherokee Golf Course had seen.
Lewis had first round 69s in both events this year and was matched by Nunn’s career-best 69 in Knoxville, Tenn. Shean, in her first season of collegiate golf, has qualified and counted for Arkansas in each event.
Despite the success, Estes sees potential for even lower scores.
"Our strength has been our ball-striking," said Estes. "We are hitting it better than I have seen us hit the golf ball since I have been here. On the other hand, our putters have been a bit cold so I am waiting for us to make some putts and I think that will be fun to see how low we can actually go when we start making some putts."
Follow all of the Lady Razorback golf action at LADYBACKS.COM.