Women's Golf Earns NCAA Bid For East Regional
BOULDER - For the second time in its history, the University of Colorado women's golf team has been selected to participate in the 2011 NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championships. The Buffaloes were placed in the East Regional as the No. 11 seed and will compete on May 5-7, 2011, in Daytona Beach, Fla., hosted by Stetson University and the Central Florida Sports Commission.
The Buffaloes are one of 24 teams that will participate in the East Regional at LPGA International. A total of 72 teams and 18 individuals were selected for this year's championships with the top eight teams and two individuals from each region advancing to the NCAA Championships, set for May 18-21 in College Station, Texas.
"We're very excited about being selected for the Regional's," CU coach Anne Kelly said. "That's what we've worked all year to accomplish. I'm honestly a little surprised we're going to Florida, but not disappointed. Maybe this means we'll get some warm weather this spring."
The Buffs have played against 10 of the 24 teams in the East Region this season and are 11-6 head-to-head against them. Of the 72 teams in the field, the Buffs have played against 41 of the teams and hold a head-to-head record of 43-27-2. Overall the Buffs are 111-30-2 on the season.
"I'm surprised that we're not going to Notre Dame (central region) or Washington (west region)," junior Emily Talley said. "Florida would've been my third guess. Our goal is to get in the top eight, anything better than that and you get yourself a trip to nationals, which would be amazing."
The Buffs will be playing on the same course as they did to kickoff the 2009-10 season at the Hooters Collegiate Match Play Championships and current Buffs Taylor Doyle, Meaghan Kari and Talley made that trip and have previously played on the LPGA International course.
"I'm excited," Talley said. "Especially because I've already played this course and hopefully it will be warmer weather than we've had this spring. We haven't had the best luck, so I'm hoping it's nice. It's a big deal that I played this course before, I had no idea what the other courses were like."
"It's beneficial that Emily and Taylor have seen the course," Kelly said. "And if any of the players have an interest in qualifying for the LPGA tour, this is where they will go so they will have a good opportunity to look at this golf course."
The Buffs will also be making their second trip to Florida this spring, as the Buffs played in the Gator Women's Invitational in Gainesville, Fla., in February, bringing home fourth place. Along with the Buffaloes, six other teams that played at the Gator Women's Invitational will play in the East Regional, including Augusta State, Coastal Carolina, Florida, Florida State, Stetson and Texas Tech.
"Playing at Florida's tournament in February is beneficial," Kelly said. "At least we've played on Bermuda grass this year. That will be the most challenging part of this tournament; playing on unfamiliar conditions. But the goal is simple: Just get in the top eight."
In the program's 16th season, this is the second time the Buffaloes have advanced as a team, also doing so during the 2008-09 season, when the Buffs were seeded No. 16 out of 21 teams in the West Region and finished 19th. Talley, a freshman, led the way for the Buffs there, carding a 75-75-75'225 to finish tied for 55th.
Prior to that, Erin Kerr earned a spot at Regional's twice. As a junior in 2002, she was selected as an individual for the West Regional in Stanford, Calif., where she tied for 15th and was the third individual, missing the cut by just three strokes after carding a 72-79-72'223. The next season, she carded a 77-77-77'231 and finished tied for 48th.
While this is the team's second appearance, several other CU teams were "on the bubble" so to speak, including last season's squad that finished the season ranked No. 60. Other years on the brink were the 2000-01 team (ranked No. 72 late in the season), the 2004-05 team (No. 63 final ranking), the 2006-07 team (No. 58 final ranking) and the 2007-08 team (No. 64 final ranking).
Colorado is one of six Big 12 teams that made the field, including Texas (No. 6 seed, central), Iowa State (No. 7, west), Texas A&M (No. 9, west), Oklahoma (No. 10, west), Texas Tech (No. 15, east) and Oklahoma State (No. 16, central). Looking forward, there were eight teams from the Pac-10 that advanced, not including the Buffs, including two of the three top seeds. Southern California (No. 1, west), UCLA (No. 1, central), Arizona (No. 3, west), California (No. 3, east), Arizona State (No. 4, east), Stanford (No. 8, central), Oregon (No. 11, west) and Washington (No. 13, west).
The same quintet of players that represented Colorado at the Big 12 Championships this past weekend will comprise the team headed to Daytona Beach. Talley and junior Jess Wallace, ranked the No. 29 player in the nation by Golfstat, are the only CU players with prior NCAA experience, as Wallace's Pepperdine squads advanced to the NCAA Championships the past two seasons, where last season she finished 21st individually.
"Nerves always come into play no matter what, but hopefully we can all support each other, encourage each other to take it on and look at is as a positive experience," Talley said. "It's a different kind of pressure, but it will also help that by the time we get there, finals will be out of the way. We only have to concentrate on golf."
Doyle was a true freshman on the 2008-09 team but took a redshirt that season. Those three are joined by freshmen Jenny and Kristin Coleman, all experiencing their initial trip to NCAAs.
The Buffaloes have enjoyed the most successful season in program history and have shattered most of the team season records on the books. CU's team stroke average of 76.23 is well ahead of the current mark of 77.02 set by the 2008-09 team and the Buffs have set a team record for top 5 team finishes with 10, topping the previous mark of six during the 2004-05 season.
As a team, the Buffs have compiled the most top 5 individual finishes (nine, previous mark seven), top 10 finishes (19, previous mark 10), top 20 finishes (32, previous mark 19), rounds in the 60s (six, previous mark five), rounds in the 70s (145, previous mark 130), subpar rounds (26, previous mark 19) and rounds at or under par (42, previous mark 30).
East Regional (Daytona Beach, Fla., Stetson host; Seed in parenthesis)
No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Purdue, No. 3 California, No. 4 Arizona State, No. 5 Auburn, No. 6 Michigan State, No. 7 North Carolina, No. 8 Vanderbilt, No. 9 Florida, No. 10 Florida State, No. 11 Colorado, No. 12 TCU, No. 13 Louisville, No. 14 Mississippi, No. 15 Texas Tech, No. 16 Florida International, No. 17 Coastal Carolina, No. 18 Augusta State, No. 19 Yale, No. 20 Kentucky, No. 21 Stetson, No. 22 UNC-Wilmington, No. 23 Fairleigh Dicksinson, No. 24 Alabama State.
Central Regional (Notre Dame, Ind., Notre Dame host)
No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 Duke, No. 3 LSU, No. 4 Arkansas, No. 5 Wake Forest, No. 6 Texas, No. 7 Tulane, No. 8 Stanford, No. 9 Notre Dame, No. 10 Ohio State, No. 11 Kent State, No. 12 Chattanooga, No. 13 Northwestern, No. 14 Minnesota, No. 15 UNLV, No. 16 Oklahoma State, No. 17 North Texas, No. 18 Wisconsin, No. 19 East Carolina, No. 20 Michigan, No. 21 Illinois, No. 22 Morehead State, No. 23 Illinois State, No. 24 Butler.
West Regional (Seattle, Wash., Washington host)
No. 1 Southern California, No. 2 Virginia, No. 3 Arizona, No. 4 Georgia, No. 5 Tennessee, No. 6 Pepperdine, No. 7 Iowa State, No. 8 UC Davis, No. 9 Texas A&M, No. 10 Oklahoma, No. 11 Oregon, No. 12 South Carolina, No. 13 Washington, No. 14 Tulsa, No., 15 Denver, No. 16 San Diego State, No. 17 BYU, No. 18 New Mexico, No. 19 Texas-San Antonio, No. 20 Portland State, No. 21 New Mexico State, No. 22 San Jose State, No. 23 Oral Roberts, No. 24 UTEP.