TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Changing conditions and three days of play on a challenging golf course took its toll on the No. 35 University of Arkansas women’s golf team at the 2010 Southeastern Conference Championship at NorthRiver Yacht Club in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Sunday.
Arkansas, in third place and within striking distance after the second round, slipped to sixth-place at the turn. The Razorbacks hovered around fifth and sixth place but a late second-half rally moved Arkansas into a tie for third with four golfers still on the course.
As the final players completed their rounds, the course handed out a few more big scores to Arkansas’ competition and the Razorbacks moved up to a final third-place finish with a 291 in the last round.
The front nine, the most difficult side of the course all weekend, finally caught up to the Razorbacks in the final round. Junior Kelli Shean and senior Kristin Ingram were steady both playing plus-one through the first nine holes but as a team Arkansas was plus-11 at the turn.
Ingram dropped two strokes with back-to-back birdies on the 10th and 11th falling to one-under on the day. Ingram suffered a bogey on 14 but battled back with a birdie on the 15th remaining under par. Shean also dropped a stroke on the par three, 12th moving to even but it wasn’t enough to lift the team up a spot.
Shean’s final round of 70 placed her at three-under-par for the three-day event and placed her in fourth place along after the final scores were tallied. Shooting two under on the back side of the course including a birdie on the final hole was key to her performance as she led the Razorbacks on the leaderboard.
Ingram the only other Razorback under par finishing one-under with a 213 (71-72-70) for the tournament and in a tie for 10th place. Ingram’s score is a season-best for the California native.
Senior Alex Schutle finished tied for 28th in her final SEC Championship with a 220 (70-72-78). Schulte was plus-five on the wind-blown front nine but rallied playing the final nine at plus two for her 220.
Freshman Victoria Vela was under par on her first day of SEC competition and finished solid with a 76 in the final round for a 219 (70-73-76). Vela finished in a tie for 24th place Sunday.
Tiffany Phelps struggled on the front nine playing five over but battled well on the back nine going one-under. Phelps finished with a 222 (74-73-75) and in tie for 31st place.
The leader board shuffled all day after beginning with a tie between the host Crimson Tide and Vanderbilt. The two teams see-sawed back-and-forth through the first nine holes but the Crimson Tide emerged as the late-day leader and hung on for the win.
The top six teams battled for position until the final holes were counted with teams exchanging places until No. 6 Alabama won the event with a score of 848. No. 20 Vanderbilt finished second at 852 followed by No. 35 Arkansas, 859, No. 15 Georgia, 860, No. 4 Auburn, 861, and No. 17 LSU, 866.
The Razorbacks return to Fayetteville in preparation of the 2010 NCAA Regional Championships with selections scheduled for Monday, April 26.
For more information regarding Razorback women’s golf or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.