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Women’s Golf Plays in Rio Verde Invitational Starting Friday

FIRST ROUND RAINED OUT: The first round of the Rio Verde Invitational has been washed out and it will be a two-round tournament starting with a 12 p.m. MT shot gun start on Saturday. Sunday will be an 8 a.m. MT start.

RIO VERDE, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona women's golf team tees it up again Friday at the 2013 Rio Verde Invitational on the White Wing golf course.

"It is one of the team's favorite tournaments," said Head Coach Brad Bedortha. "We go down there every year and stay with host families. Everyone is excited about going back down for the tournament. It will be good to get back in action."

The Lumberjacks are playing in the event for the sixth consecutive season, finishing second in 2011. NAU was 10th overall behind the play of Laura Jabczenski last season, who finished tied for 11th overall. She will play in the starting five this week.

"Laura played really well in this tournament last year," said Bedortha. "Hopefully she has some good thoughts going into the tournament."

The Lumberjack lineup will be led by freshman Savana Bezdicek, who posted her fourth top-10 finish of the season last week at the Red Rocks Invitational.

"She has played great," said Bedortha. "She is excited to play a golf course where she can hit her driver. I think the golf course will set up great for her because there is some room to hit it. For her length off the tee, it will be really good."

Bedortha will also play senior Stephanie Kim, junior Kaitlen Parsons and sophomore Darian Spivey.

"Our top three have been playing pretty well and we need to get the others playing well and more consistent," said Bedortha.

The 2013 Rio Verde Invitational field consists of 17 teams.  Maryland-Kansas City, Montana and Northern Illinois are all competing in the tournament for the first time in 2013. Akron, Arkansas-Little Rock, Ball State, Bradley, Eastern Michigan, Maryland-Kansas City, Missouri State, Montana, Northern Arizona, Northern Illinois, Ohio, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Toledo, Western Michigan, Wichita State, Xavier and Yale make up the remainder of the field.

The tournament is a 54-hole event spanning three days with 18 holes of golf played each day.  Friday's (March 10) first round is a 1 p.m. start, while Saturday (March 9) is at 11 a.m. and Sunday (March 10) will begin at 8 a.m.  All rounds begin with shot gun starts. 

"It is a good format and they have a good group of teams playing in the event," said Bedortha.

The Rio Verde Invitational heads back over to the White Wing golf course for the first time since 2011 and second time since 2006.  The course will play to a par of 72 with the front playing to a par 35 and the back to a par 37.  Distances on this year's course are 2,958 yards on the front nine holes and 3,257 yards on the back for a total yardage of 6,215.

Individuals Susana Mejia and Melissa Olson will play in a separate individual tournament as part of the event.

Live results are available from the event. Follow the Lumberjacks all weekend by clicking here.