Photo by John Mummert, USGA
CHANDLER, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona women's golf team begins the stretch run towards their championship season with the annual trip to play in the University of Wyoming Cowgirl Classic beginning Monday. The three-day tournament is played on the same layout for the Big Sky Conference Tournament in two weeks.
"It is a big week," said Head Coach Brad Bedortha. "We have had some success there in the past so hopefully we can carry that back in there. There are 24 teams in the tournament and hopefully we can finish well. If we play well and post some good scores, it would be a big boost for us."
The Lumberjacks have won the team title twice at the event and claimed a pair of individual titles over the last five seasons. Junior Stephanie Kim won the title in 2010 during her freshman season.
"I am excited to go back to Ocotillo and play there," said Kim, who posted a school-record 68 during the 2010 tournament. "It is one of my favorite courses. We have been working really hard so it is going to be good to see how we play."
In 2011-12, Kim has posted three top-10 finishes, including a tie for fifth at the Red Rocks Invitational in last month in Sedona, Ariz., posting a 78.2 scoring average in eight tournament appearances.
Kim and sophomore Kaitlen Parsons both enter the tournament with experience on the course and will lead the four freshmen, including two who have never played the course in Susana Mejia and Laura Jabczenski.
"It is a good advantage since I know the course more than some of the girls from out of state," said Kim. "Obviously our team is really young and it has been hard. Everyone has worked really hard and I believe it is going to pay off."
The Lumberjacks will use the tournament to set their championship lineup, deciding on the fifth player for the Big Sky Championships. With the top four set (Kim, Parsons, Jabczenski and Darian Spivey), Bedortha will decide between Melissa Olson and Mejia for the final spot.
"We are down to two tournaments on the same course so hopefully we will do well and finish strong," said Kim.
The tournament features 24 teams including seven of the other eight conference schools. NAU will tee off starting at 6:30 a.m. Monday. The Lumberjacks will also play a scrimmage on Saturday before the practice round Sunday.
2012 University of Wyoming Cowgirl Classic
Dates: Monday through Wednesday, April 9-11, 2011
Site: Ocotillo Golf Resort in Chandler, Ariz.
Host: University of Wyoming
Tournament Field (24 teams): Wyoming, Boise State, Colorado State, Creighton, Eastern Washington, Iowa, Montana, Montana State, Nevada, New Mexico State, Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado, Portland State, Sacramento State, Santa Clara, Seattle, South Dakota State, Southern Utah, UC Riverside, Utah Valley, UTEP, Weber State, Wichita State and Xavier.
Details: All three days will begin with a 6:30 a.m. local time start and groups will tee off of holes one and 10 in 10-minute intervals. The field will play one round of 18 holes each day.
Course: Ocotillo Golf Resort in Chandler, Ariz.
Yardage/Par: 6,184 yards/Par 72