Hot Memphis Women's Golf Team Prepares for C-USA Championship
April 14, 2006
For Immediate Release
GREENVILLE, N.C. - After a high of winning its first tournament in four years, the University of Memphis women's golf team will attempt to bring the emotion into the Conference USA Championship beginning on Sunday. The three-day tournament will be played at Ironwood Country Club, a 72-par, 7,151-yard course.
The Lady Tigers enter the championship after winning the Lady Eagle Invitational by 13 strokes on Tuesday. Junior Stacey Tate won her third individual championship in four tournaments at the event.
Tate is one of the favorites to win the tournament and leads all C-USA individuals with a 74.3 stroke average. The New Zealand native is averaging a 71.8 in four spring events and a 215.2 tournament average. After correcting a flaw in her swing over the winter break, Tate shaved off 4.7 strokes from her average and 14.7 strokes from her tournament average.
A four-time C-USA Women's Golfer of the Week selection and three-time honoree this spring, Tate has finished in the top eight in six of her eight tournaments. In spring competition, she has medaled in three out of four events and tied for fourth in the other.
Memphis is the fourth highest ranked team in the tournament coming in at No. 84 by Golf Week. First-year conference member SMU is the highest ranked team at No. 23. The Mustangs have finished in the top four in six out of 10 tournaments this year and have placed second in their last two events. SMU is one of three conference teams to have played in the NCAA Regional in 2005 with Tulsa and East Carolina being the other two.
Tulsa is another high-ranked newcomer that enters the tournament at No. 35. The Golden Hurricane are looking to win their eighth-straight conference tournament after winning seven-in-a-row in the Western Athletic Conference. Tulsa is the only current C-USA school to have played in the NCAA Championship in 2005.
Tournament host East Carolina is the third highest ranked team in the tournament with a No. 63 rating. Other top 100 schools include No. 89 UCF and No. 91 UTEP. Southern Miss, Marshall and UAB round out the seven-member conference.
The tournament was to be hosted by Tulane who won the C-USA Championship in 2005 at Memphis. After Hurricane Katrina, the event was moved to Greenville, N.C., and Tulane dropped its women's golf program.
Tate, ranked No. 105 by Golf Week, will have several challengers in the competition. Tulsa's Michaela Cavener is the highest ranked player in the tournament at No. 43. The sophomore has finished in the top 20 in seven of eight tournaments and has a 75.2 stroke average. SMU's junior Lacey Jones is ranked No. 76 and has a 75.9 average while junior teammate Kristina Rothengatte is ranked No. 103 with a 75.8 stroke average. East Carolina freshman Lene Krog is ranked No. 77 with a 74.5 average.
After the success in the Lady Eagle Invitational, Memphis will bring its same roster to the conference tournament. Sophomore transfer Dawn-Marie Conaty will be the No. 2 golfer behind Tate. The Ireland native set a career tournament best with a 224 at the Lady Eagle Invitational and finished tied for 4th. She is averaging a 77.9 through four tournaments with a 72 as her low round.
Freshman Rachel Larson will be in the No. 3 position. The Lone Tree, Colo., native is one of two Memphis players to participate in all eight tournaments. Larson is averaging a 79.3 and has two top 20 finishes. In the spring, Larson is averaging a 78.9 and finished tied for 17th in her last event.
The only senior on the roster, Bernie Rosero, will play in the No. 4 slot. The Ecuador native played the best tournament of her career at the Lady Eagle Invitational. Rosero shot a career best 231 and a career low 73 in the first round to tie for 13th.
Junior Kathryn O'Rourke rounds out the Lady Tiger squad in the No. 5 position. O'Rourke had a strong performance in her first tournament of the spring at the Lady Eagle Invite, shooting a 231 to tie for 13th. The Holmes, N.Y., native has played in three tournaments this season and is averaging a 79.7.
Tate is a strong candidate for an at-large individual bid into the NCAA Regional tournament in May. However Memphis head coach Jenny Bruun said she believes a strong performance by the Lady Tigers in the tournament could be enough to give the team an at-large bid. For that to happen, Memphis would have to at least finish in the top three.
The Lady Tigers finished seventh at the 2005 C-USA Championships in Memphis with a 961. Tate led the team with a 239 to tie for 25th. The last time the U of M won the conference tournament came in 2001. The Tigers have won the tournament two times in the 10-year history of the conference.