Jump to agate LUBBOCK, Texas — A final round 304 allowed the 20th-ranked University of Arkansas women’s golf team to leap-frog two teams climbing into eighth place at the 2005 NCAA Central Region Championship and earn the programs first-ever trip to the NCAA Championship. “It’s kind of funny,” said head coach Kelley Hester. “We came off the course in ninth or 10th place and I gave the team the ‘too bad, we were so close, looks like we missed it by one stroke like at SECs’ speech. Then, all of a sudden, we were back in it.” Arkansas finished the Regional shooting a 915 with rounds of 300, 311 and finishing with a 304 paced by junior El Dorado, Ark., native Amanda McCurdy’s 75. McCurdy had struggled much of the event but stepped up big for the Lady’Backs in the final round. Junior Courtney Mahon enjoyed a great round wrapping up the action with a 76 as did senior Hot Springs, Ark., native Gena Johnson. Redshirt freshman Stacy Lewis added a 77 as did Lindsey Hinshaw who posted three consecutive 77s, four dating back to the final round of the SEC Championship two weeks ago. ‘We’re excited," said Hester, "but, again, we’re not done. Going to NCAA’s was a goal for this team all season and we’re not going to be pleased with just making the field. We want to show the nation what Arkansas golf is all about." Saturday’s conditions were again a change from the previous days with less wind and higher temperatures while Arkansas was on the course. The Lady’Backs’ round began at 8:30 a.m., with cool conditions and temps in the 40s but things heated up quickly around the turn. The higher temps seemed to elevate scores in the later rounds but Arkansas was long off the course at that point. Third-ranked Auburn won the event coming from behind with a final round 283 for an 896. Thirty-eighth-ranked Texas A&M finished second overall at 903 (293-310-300), followed by No. 18 Missouri with 905 (291-312-302). Arizona State, ranked fourth in the country, was fourth with a 906 (296-310-300), while No. 22 Tulsa (298-310-300) and No. 33 Purdue (295-309-304) tied for fifth overall with a 908. Seventh place belonged to No. 39 Michigan State who turned in a 909 (300-307-302), followed by Arkansas at 915. Hester began her third season at Arkansas last fall and the team set several goals including being ranked in the top 10 in the country in their 10th season and reaching the NCAA Championships. Along the way, the Lady Razorbacks re-wrote the Arkansas record books erasing every single mark set prior to this season. In addition, individual honors have been numerous including Lewis winning the 2005 Southeastern Conference Championship while Arkansas posted its best team finish with a third-place showing, just one stroke out of a three-way tie for first. Lewis and McCurdy were both selected to the all-SEC team while senior Lina Axelsson was named to the SEC Good Works team. Arkansas joins 23 other teams at the 2005 NCAA Championship in Sun River, Ore., May 17-20. For more information about Arkansas golf log on to LADYBACKS.COM.