April 23, 2009
NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Oklahoma women’s golf team starts post-season competition Friday with the three-day, 54-hole Big 12 Championship in Lubbock, Texas. Texas Tech University hosts the 12-team conference tournament at the 6,564-yard, par-73 Rawls Golf Course.
OU heads into the tournament coming off of a second-place finish two weeks ago at its home tournament, the Susie Maxwell Berning Classic. After finishing just three strokes out of first place at that tournament, the Sooners have been hard at work for another chance at victory.
“I think the girls have put extra pressure on themselves to stand up,” OU head coach Carol Ludvigson said this week. “But I think it is a good amount of pressure to make a difference and they know that they have to hold up their end of the bargain for us to show our true talent. I look forward to them all succeeding on their own individual goals which will ultimately lead to team success.”
Holding the No.1 spot in the Oklahoma lineup is two-time Susie Maxwell Berning Classic winner Kendall Dye. The senior is OU’s top golfer with a 76.42 career stroke average, second best in school history. This year, Dye has recorded nothing but top-25 finishes, including three top-10 showings and a first-place finish at the Susie Maxwell.
Dye has been a constant in the OU lineup, as she has competed in all but one tournament during her four years as a Sooner. This year she boasts a 74.78 stroke average.
The other constant in OU’s lineup has been sophomore Ellen Mueller. The Evansville, Ind., native has participated in every tournament this year and has recorded five top-30 finishes, including two top-5 finishes.
Fellow sophomore Sara Hemingway holds the No.3 spot, as she returns to the team lineup for the first time since withdrawing with a wrist injury at the Kent Youel Invitational last October. Before her injury, she recorded a pair of top-25 finishes. Two weeks ago at the Susie Maxwell, the Kingwood, Texas, product competed as an individual and tied for 11th.
“I think having Sara in the lineup will provide consistency and calmness because she has an uncanny way about her that relaxes everyone,” Ludvigson said. “We are very excited that she is back in the lineup and feel very confident with her ability to shoot low scores.”
|Big 12 Preview Notes|
Freshman standout Kelly Short will also compete for the Sooners. Short finished her first collegiate tournament tied for a respectable 32nd place at the Ron Moore Women’s Intercollegiate in September. Less than a week later, she tied for eighth at Price’s “Give ‘Em Five” Invitational. Short also participated in four other tournaments throughout the year, and tied for 17th as an individual at the Susie Maxwell.
In the fifth spot for the Sooners will be senior Staci Smoot. The Rochester, Minn., native competed in six tournaments for the Sooners this season and played her best golf at the Central District Invitational in February, firing a low-round 73 (+1) en route to a 29th-place finish.
A two-week break since their last tournament has allowed the team to prepare for the Big 12 and hopefully end the season strong. Coach Ludvigson sees a top-3 finish as a reachable goal for her team.
“We have been working on knock-down shots and a lot of bump and runs around 20 yards on into the hole,” Ludvigson said. “Our goal is to be in contention to win and if not at least finish in the top three. We know this is feasible but we need to have a good start.”
Golfweek ranks Oklahoma State (No. 4 nationally) as No.1 in the Big 12, followed by Texas (39), Texas A&M (41), Colorado (45), Baylor (57), Texas Tech (59), Missouri (62), Oklahoma (65), Nebraska (69), Iowa State (70), Kansas (77)and Kansas State (118).
OU last won the Big 12 Championship in 2000, and has finished in the top five in eight out of the 12 league tournaments since the conference was formed in 1996.
Tee times are set for 8 a.m. CT Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with one round played each day.