Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
UA women ready to take windy ride
Emily Tubert hits from the third tee during the second round of the Wal-Mart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers on Saturday, June 30, 2012.
FAYETTEVILLE — The Arkansas women’s golf team will carry a hefty ranking, some new hardware and a bagful of confidence into its NCAA regional appearance today in Stillwater, Okla.
SEC coach of the year Shauna Estes-Taylor and All-SEC firstteam players Emily Tubert and Gaby Lopez will lead the Razorbacks, ranked No. 4 by Golfstat.com, into the 54-hole NCAA qualifier at Karsten Creek Golf Club.
The top eight teams from each of three NCAA regionals will advance to the NCAA Championships, which will be May 20-23 at Tulsa Country Club.
“We’re not here to finish in the top eight, we’re here to win the tournament,” said Lopez, who tied for second at the SEC Championships two weeks ago. “Each one of us is motivated to win this tournament as an individual, and I feel very confident with my game right now.”
No. 2 UCLA is the top seed for the Stillwater Regional, followed by Arkansas, No. 10 Alabama, No. 11 Arizona, No. 16 LSU, No. 15 Oklahoma State, No. 22 Florida and No. 21 North Carolina.
Estes-Taylor said practicing at the Razorbacks’ home course at The Blessings was excellent preparation for the conditions they anticipate at Karsten Creek.
“I’m actually so thankful this past week at home it was pretty windy,” Estes-Taylor said. “It got the girls in the right mind-set to hit golf shots when it’s blowing 25 mph. I tell them the wind is their friend.”
Lopez said it was breezy during Wednesday’s practice round.
“It wasn’t any inconvenience with the wind and the weather,” Lopez said. “Overall, I think our team is really really prepared to win this week. We have all the tools, and we know every golf shot we might need.”
The Razorbacks, who are making their 13th NCAA regional appearance, tied for third at the 2013 East Regional last year at Auburn, Ala.
Lopez, a sophomore from Mexico City, is expected to be joined in Arkansas’ lineup by Tubert, who is from Burbank, Calif., senior Emma Lavy of Fayetteville, sophomore Regina Plasencia of Guadalajara, Mexico, and freshman Summar Roachell of Conway.
WHERE Stillwater, Okla., hosted by Oklahoma State
WHO No. 2 UCLA, No. 4 Arkansas, No. 10 Alabama, No. 11 Arizona, No. 16 LSU, No. 15 Oklahoma State, No. 22 Florida, No. 21 North Carolina, No. 27 Ohio State, No. 28 Miami, Fla., No. 33 Mississippi State, No. 35 California, No. 39 Kent State, No. 42 Kansas, No. 45 UNLV, No. 47 Colorado, No. 50 Texas, SMU, Minnesota, Harvard, Lamar, Wichita State, LIU-Brooklyn and Siena.
PROJECTED ARKANSAS LINEUP Gaby Lopez (71.45 stroke average), Emily Tubert (72.83), Regina Plasencia (73.58), Emma Lavy (74.83), Summar Roachell (75.58).
NOTEWORTHY The top eight teams from each of the three NCAA regionals advance to the NCAA Championships in Tulsa. ... Arkansas Coach Shauna Estes-Taylor is the school’s first SEC coach of the year. ... Senior Emily Tubert is a four-time firstteam All-SEC player, and sophomore Gaby Lopez is a two-time first-team All-SEC player. ... The Razorbacks have played in 13 NCAA regionals and have advanced to the NCAA Championships eight times. ... Former Razorback Stacy Lewis (2007) and Tubert (2011) tied for third at NCAA regionals to share the top finish in school history. ... Sophomore Regina Plasencia earned second-team All-SEC honors.
Sports on 05/08/2014