RIO VERDE, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona women's golf team hits the course for the second consecutive weekend starting Friday at the Rio Verde Invitational hosted by Western Michigan at the Rio Verde Country Club. The Lumberjacks are playing in the event for the fourth consecutive season.
"The girls are excited," said Head Coach Brad Bedortha. "We won last week and played great, moving up in the rankings. We had a good couple days of practice. There are some good teams that we have not competed against in a long time. It will be fun to compete against a good field."
This year's event, March 4-6, will welcome 17 teams to Rio Verde, Ariz., including defending champion Michigan.
"We want to keep the momentum going from last week," said Bedortha. "We have been practicing working on golf swings and it has paid off."
The field includes Akron, Arkansas-Little Rock, Ball State, Bowling Green, Bradley, Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, Michigan, Missouri State, Northern Arizona, Ohio, Penn State, Southern Illinois, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Toledo, Western Michigan and Xavier.
Six teams in this year's field are ranked in the top 100 in Division I according to Golfweek/Sagarin rankings.
NAU is ranked No. 95 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings this week. Arkansas-Little Rock is the highest ranked team at No. 51, followed by Western Michigan at No. 61 and Michigan at No. 66. Penn State and Toledo are behind at No. 71 and No. 93, respectively.
The Rio Verde Invitational moves back to the White Wing Course for the first time since 2006. The course will play at a par 72, spanning 6,317 yards with three par-5's on the back nine.
The Rio Verde Invitational has been in existence since 2003 and began as a two-round tournament. Moving to three rounds in 2005, there has been only one team to ever win the event twice (Michigan) but no individual has ever earned medalist twice. The Wolverines are also the only program to have multiple medalists (3) and a medalist in successive years (2005, 2006).
The tournament will be played in three days with 18 holes played on each day. Friday begins with a 1 p.m. MT shotgun, while Saturday and Sunday each start with 8 a.m. MT shotguns.