Memphis Women's Golf Team Gaining Experience
Feb. 3, 2006
For the first time since the 2000-01 season, the University of Memphis women's golf team returns its head coach. As Lady Tiger skipper Jenny Bruun completes her second season with the team, her influence and vision begins to take hold of a program that last appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 2002.
Since the 2002 postseason appearance, it has been a rocky journey for the Lady Tigers who were a staple in the NCAA Tournament from 1996 to 2002. Memphis received bids to six of the seven tournaments during the stretch.
But beginning with Bruun's first year as head coach last season, the Lady Tigers have once again shown signs of brilliance. In the team's second tournament of the 2005 fall season, Memphis shot a 293 in the second round of the Wildcat Fall Invitational. The 4-over team score is ties for the program's fifth lowest round ever and was only one stroke more than the school record that was last accomplished in 2002.
The Lady Tigers finished in the top 10 in two of its four fall tournaments in 2005 with their best finish coming in the Wildcat Fall Invitational. Memphis finished seventh out of 15 teams in the tournament hosted by the University of Kentucky. The U of M also finished ninth out of 16 teams at the Alabama/Ann Rhoads Intercollegiate to open the fall season.
Memphis averaged a 311.7 round average in the fall of 2005, over six strokes better than the average from 2004-05. Four out of the six Lady Tiger golfers who appeared in tournaments in the fall are averaging fewer than 80 strokes per round. Last season only two players accomplished the feat.
Junior Cameron Barber improved dramatically in the fall and finished the first half of the season with a team second best round average of 78.8. The Lone Tree, Colo., native improved her average by nearly four strokes from the previous season and shot a career low 75 at the Wildcat Fall Invitational where she finished tied for 23rd. Barber was one of four Lady Tigers to play in all four fall tournaments.
Memphis missed its No. 2 golfer from the 2004-05 season, junior Meghan Mahoney, during the fall due to a back injury. Mahoney finished in the top 20 in three tournaments last season and will most likely miss the entire 2005-06 season recovering from the injury. In her absence, the Lady Tigers utilized the service of two freshman who played in all four fall tournaments. Rachel Larson had the team's third lowest average at 79.7 and was followed closely behind by Kayla Stewart who finished the fall with a 79.8 average. Both players had low rounds of 75.
Also competing for playing time will be juniors Kathryn O'Rourke and Ashley Burross. Both competed in two tournaments in the fall. O'Rourke had the team's third best average in 2004-05. Sophomore transfer Dawn-Marie Conaty will also compete for time in the five-person lineup after joining the team from North Carolina State University to begin the spring schedule. Conaty competed on the junior varsity squad for a year and a half at NC State.
From Florida the U of M travels to Las Vegas to take part in the UNLV Spring Invite on March 13-15 for the second-straight year. Memphis will then have three-straight weeks of tournaments in April beginning with the John Kirk/Lady Panther Invitational hosted by Georgia State in Stockbridge, Ga., on April 3-4. The Lady Tigers have appeared in the tournament twice in 1995 and 1996 and placed first both years.
The Lady Eagle Classic on April 10-11 will provide the final preparation before the Conference USA Championship. Hosted by Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, Miss., Memphis tied for sixth in the tournament last year and was led by Stacey Tate who earned medalist honors with a 71-73-71. The Lady Tigers will then compete in the C-USA Championship on April 16-18. Originally scheduled to be played in New Orleans, the tournament was moved to Greenville, N.C., due to Hurricane Katrina. The conference tournament will feature all nine affiliated programs and will be hosted by East Carolina.