May 21, 2012
FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- The Oklahoma women's golf team will tee off at the NCAA Championships for the first time in 10 years May 22-25 (Tuesday-Friday) at the Vanderbilt Legends Club North Course in Franklin, Tenn.
Oklahoma, the 2012 Big 12 Champion, is making its fifth appearance in the NCAA Championships, qualifying for the first time since 2002 and the second time since 1995. The 28th-ranked Sooners will compete in a field of 24 of the nation's top teams in the four-round event.
"It's a great honor and accomplishment for our program to make the national championships," said OU head coach Veronique Drouin-Luttrell. "We have a lot of talent on this team and we have been playing really good golf over the past month. We're excited to get out there and show what we're made of."
OU advanced to the championship after an improbable comeback at the NCAA West Regional two weeks ago in Erie, Colo.
After one round of regional play, the Sooners found themselves in 18th place. Needing a top-eight finish to advance to the national championship, Oklahoma rallied over the following two rounds, climbing to 14th place after the second round and to eighth place after the final 18 holes. The Sooners' third-round score of 289 (+1) was a 16-stroke improvement over their opening round.
"I'm really proud of the girls for fighting back in the regional," said Drouin-Luttrell. "I feel like a lot of people haven't picked us to do anything, which is good. It feels good to kind of surprise the nation."
Oklahoma will be led by two-time All-Big 12 performer Chirapat "Ja" Jao-Javanil. The sophomore from Thailand took fifth place at the NCAA West Regional and was the runner-up at the Big 12 Championship, falling one stroke shy of the individual title.
Jao-Javanil boasts five top-five finishes in the Sooners' 10 tournaments this season, and has finished in the top 15 in all but two events. The sophomore won titles at both the Golfweek Conference Challenge and the Central District Invitational.
Fellow sophomore Anne-Catherine Tanguay will start in the Sooners' No. 2 slot. Tanguay experienced a comeback of her own at the NCAA West Regional, rebounding from a first-round 76 (+4) to shoot even par over the final 36 holes and claim 16th place.
The Quebec City, Quebec, native has recorded eight top-20 finishes this season, including a title at the Susie Maxwell Berning Classic and a fourth-place showing at the Big 12 Championship.
Junior Taylor Schmidt will compete in the No. 3 position with a pair of top-10 finishes this season. Sophomore Emily Collins and junior Jacki Marshall round out the Sooner lineup in the fourth and fifth positions, respectively.
Oklahoma is one of six Big 12 institutions that will compete in the championships. The Big 12 champion Sooners will be joined by No. 16 Texas A&M, No. 17 Baylor, No. 18 Oklahoma State, No. 26 Texas and No. 33 Texas Tech.
The tournament will also feature No. 1-ranked UCLA, who won the 2011 NCAA title.
The Sooners tee off on the 10th hole on Tuesday beginning at 8:28 a.m. CT with golfers from Michigan State and Arkansas. Live scoring will be available on GolfStat.com.