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Razorbacks on the big stage

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Razorbacks on the big stage

BRYAN, Texas – The 11th-ranked University of Arkansas women’s golf team tees it up at the NCAA Championship in Bryan, Texas, Wednesday in the program’s fourth championship appearance and first under head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor.

The four-round event takes place at the Traditions Club, the home course of Texas A&M University and the Aggies are this year’s host.

Estes-Taylor and the Razorbacks are coming off a program-best fourth-place finish at last week’s NCAA Central Regional Championship and seem to be peaking at the right time.

"I believe we are in a good place," Estes-Taylor said. "We are mentally, mechanically and physicallyready and I believe that everyone is playing their best golf. As a coach that’s what you want at this time of the year."

Arkansas faces a stacked field with 24 of the nation’s best teams taking part. The top three teams in the Golfstat.com rankings, No. 1 Southern California, No. 2 UCLA and No. 3 Alabama, lead the field. Other notables include No. 5 Virginia, No. 6 Arizona, No. 7 LSU, No. 9 Tennessee and No. 10 Arizona State.

"The field is, well, a National Championship field," Estes-Taylor said. "It’s tough and deep but I think our team has what it takes to be successful against these other programs. We are really looking forward to this opportunity."

As for Arkansas, the Razorbacks feel well prepared for the par 72, 6,260-yard Traditions Club course.

"Emily (Tubert), Emma (Lavy) and Vickie (Vela), so three of our five have played the course," Estes-Taylor said. "I also sent Mike (Adams, Razorback assistant coach) down to recruit there a couple of weeks ago so we have a pretty good idea of the course set up and the conditions."

Tubert’s experience on the course last weekend in South Bend, Ind., was valuable as well. She, along with teammate Lavy, shot rounds of 69, the second lowest round for the tournament, helping Arkansas advance.

Also traveling this week are seniors Kelli Shean and Corinna Rees.

The four-day event is scheduled for May 18-21, with conditions expected to be dramatically different from last week’s qualifier. Arkansas bundled up in South Bend, Ind., starting their rounds with temps in the mid-30s and low 40s. It was windy, cloudy and rain almost washed out the final round of play.

The forecast for Bryan, Texas, this week is dry with temperatures expected in the low to mid-90s.

The Razorbacks have made three other NCAA Championship appearances as a team in 2005, 2006 and 2007. The team’s best finish was an eighth-place showing in 2008. Former Razorback Stacy Lewis won the individual title in 2007.



Sports Category : Golf (W)