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No. 8 Lady’Back Linksters return to the course this week

BY ANDRES FOCIL
No. 8 Lady’Back Linksters return to the course this week

FAYETTEVILLE — The eighth-ranked University of Arkansas women’s golf team returns to the links this week taking part in the Northrup Grumman Regional Challenge in Palos Verdes, Calif., Monday-Wednesday. Arkansas last competed at the Hooters Match Play Championship Nov. 11-13, before breaking for the winter. This week’s event is the first of five regular season events leading up to the post-season. "We’ve really worked hard for this time of the year (to get here)," said head coach Kelley Hester. "We had a really good fall and I was pleased, but we know it could have been even better." Arkansas’ hard work paid dividends in the fall with five top six finishes and one tournament title. In fact, Arkansas went 48-8 in tournament action and was 4-1 in match play. That success on the course translated into higher rankings, the highest rankings in program history. As the spring starts, the Lady’Backs find themselves ranked eighth by Golfweek and ninth by Golfstat.com. In addition to the team rankings, a pair of Lady’Backs in senior Amanda McCurdy and sophomore Stacy Lewis are ranked 21st and 26th in the country, respectively. But Arkansas isn’t resting on its past accomplishments. In fact, the Lady Razorbacks have retooled their goals for the spring. "We set some goals in the fall and for the first time in my coaching career, I had to ask the team to re-set them because they’ve shattered the previous ones," said Hester. "We set out to improve our team stroke average and I think we did that by five strokes and we’ve been in the top five in nearly every event we’ve competed in with a shot to win each of them." Arkansas tests itself all spring with a challenging schedule beginning at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge. The Lady’Backs are making their first ever appearance at the event and take on a field that all ranks in the top 33 in the country. Second-ranked UCLA headlines the field followed by No. 5 Pepperdine and No. 7 Southern California. Arkansas checks in ranked eighth while No. 9 Arizona State, No. 11 Wake Forest, No. 15 Washington, No. 16 Stanford, No. 18 Arizona, No. 19 Oho State, No. 20 California, No. 23 New Mexico, No. 25 Florida, No. 27 Tulane and No. 33 Oklahoma State are also scheduled to attend. "We are very driven to have a great spring," said Hester. "We don’t play any weak fields." As for the long break Hester wasn’t worried. "The weather’s been great and we’ve gotten a lot done," she said. "This is a group that I don’t have to do anything to motivate. They are really motivated by getting to the SEC and NCAA Championships. I’m just trying to get out of their way."



Sports Category : Golf (W)