Feb. 19, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - In what has become one of the best women's collegiate golf tournaments in the nation, Tulane University and the Allstate Sugar Bowl will once again team up to bring many of the top teams and players in the country to New Orleans for the fourth annual Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate Golf Championship, Feb. 23-25, at the English Turn Golf & Country Club. Admission to each round is free of charge.
The three-day, 54-hole event will feature 18 holes each day on the par-72, 6,140-yard Jack Nicklaus-designed course. Play will begin at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23 and Monday, Feb. 24 from holes No. 1 and No. 10, while Tuesday's final round will begin with a shotgun start at 8 a.m.
The 31st-ranked Green Wave will join golfers from top-ranked USC and second-ranked UCLA for Sunday's opening round and the groups will tee off from the No. 1 tee box at 9 a.m.
The 2014 field is comprised of 17 teams and features three of the nation's top five teams and nine squads rank among the Top-25 programs in the country, while a total of 13 of the 17 teams rate among the Top-50 teams in the country.
This year's participants includes No. 1 USC, No. 2 UCLA, No. 4 Washington, No. 9 Alabama, No. 11 Clemson, No. 12 Oklahoma State, No. 18 Florida, No. 23 LSU, No. 24 Auburn, No. 31 Tulane, No. 34 Mississippi State, No. 44 Denver, No. 47 Georgia, No. 54 Baylor, No. 63 Texas, No. 66 UTSA and No. 73 Ole Miss.
A total of 20 of the nation's top-50 ranked individuals will compete for both the team trophy and individual medalist honors, including 14 golfers among the top-25 in the country. Stephanie Meadow of Alabama enters the 2014 Championship as the nation's top-ranked individual. Meadow won the 2011 Championship as a freshman.
USC is the defending national champion heading into the 2014 Championship, and is also the defending tournament team champion after topping fellow Pac-12 Conference rival UCLA in a play-off in the 2013 event. Baylor's Hayley Davis is the defending individual medalist after she fired a 4-under 140 total to win by two strokes a year ago.
"The Allstate Sugar Bowl is very proud of our continued partnership with Tulane to bring many of the best collegiate golfers in the nation to New Orleans," said Paul Hoolahan, CEO of the Allstate Sugar Bowl. "We're looking forward to another great tournament on the beautiful English Turn course."
The Tulane golf program will be well represented in this year's field as four teams feature a former Green Wave player or coach on its coaching staff. Lorne Don is in his first season as the head coach of the Green Wave, while Auburn associate head coach Andrew Pratt served as the head coach for the Green Wave from 2012-13. Pratt followed in the footsteps of Clemson's current head coach, John Thomas Horton, who led the Green Wave program from 2008-11.
Former Tulane golfer Lindsey (Hulwick) Kuhle is the head coach of the Denver Pioneers, while former Green Wave golfer Janine Fellows is the assistant coach at Clemson.
Each of the current and former head coaches, along with both golfers, has one person in common- Sue Bower, a former Tulane golf coach, current Associate Athletic Director and tournament manager. Bower coached the Green Wave from 1992-2005.
Tulane is coming off an eighth-place finish two weeks ago in the spring opener at the UCF Challenge. The Green Wave sports a youthful, but talented line-up led by sophomore Emily Penttila, who boasts the top scoring average on the team with a 72.43, while seasoned junior Gemma Dryburgh and sophomore Silvia Garces are second, each with a 73.00 average. Sophomore Madison Opfer is fourth on the team with a 74.00 average and freshman Belen Goicoechea rounds out the line-up with a 74.67. Rookie Olivia Winning has a 76.60 average and will play as an individual.
"It's quite an exciting time to have many of the top teams in the country coming to our city, and for a coach it's a great opportunity to play the best on your home course," Tulane head coach Lorne Don said. "The Allstate Sugar Bowl has been unbelievable in supporting this event, our golf team and really the entire New Orleans community in bringing first class events to the city, and this weekend's tournament is no exception. We are excited to host so many great teams, coaches and golfers this weekend.
"Our approach is very similar to any other tournament but we have to make sure we do not think of this weekend as being anything different than any other event. There will be some outside distractions. But when it comes down to putting the ball in the ground and teeing off we will have a plan and we will execute the plan to the best of our ability."
Last season at the 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate Golf Championship, Tulane produced a fourth-place finish, while Penttila turned in a fifth-place finish to lead the Wave.
In a city internationally known for its magnificent private clubs, English Turn Golf and Country Club stands out as an unmatched example of luxurious environment and superb recreational facilities.
The 18-hole championship golf course is a fitting testimony to Jack Nicklaus's extraordinary reputation not only as a world-renowned player, but as a world-class course designer. The Nicklaus-designed Par 72 Championship Golf Course presents a unique challenge to golfers of any skill level. Water comes into play on every hole.
Giant sand and waste bunkers guard many holes, and numerous grass depressions and mounds line the sculptured fairways. Huge tiered greens challenge putting strokes.
New Orleans is the 11th-oldest host city on the PGA Tour and English Turn was a regular stop on the Tour when it hosted the Zurich Classic from 1989-2004 and again in 2006. Past winners of the Zurich Classic include Billy Casper, Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus, Davis Love III, David Toms, and Vijay Singh.