Feb. 26, 2011
NEW ORLEANS -The 15th-ranked Tulane women's golf team welcomes a star-studded field to the Crescent City this weekend for the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate Golf Championship, Feb. 27 - March 1, 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 and will begin on Sunday, Feb. 27 with an 8 a.m. tee time from holes No. 1 and No. 10, followed with the same tee time and locations on Monday, while Tuesday's final round will begin with a shotgun start at 8:15 a.m.
"This is huge tournament for our program and for the city of New Orleans as well," Tulane head coach John Thomas Horton said. "The Allstate Sugar Bowl has to be one of the best, if not the best, sponsor in all of college golf. I'm excited about this moment. This is an event that has been in the making for over a year and a half now. We have the best teams in the country and we're receiving a lot of publicity on both the local and national level. It's nice to have the opportunity to host and welcome these teams to New Orleans."
The 17-team field for the 2011 event rivals perhaps the NCAA National Championship field with nine of the past 12 national champions, 12 current Top-25 teams, including seven top 10 squads, the nation's current top-ranked golfer and every participating team is ranked among the top-50 squads in the country. Six different conferences will be represented (Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 Conference, Big Ten Conference, Conference USA, Pac-10, Southeastern Conference and Sun Belt Conference).
The line-up features Alabama, currently the nation's top ranked squad, No. 2 USC, No. 4 LSU, No. 5 Duke, No. 6 Purdue, No. 8 Virginia, No. 10 Arizona State, No. 13 Vanderbilt, No. 14 North Carolina, host and 15th-ranked Tulane, No. 17 Tennessee, No. 21 Auburn, No. 33 Texas A&M, No. 35 Florida, No. 39 Ole Miss, No. 44 Denver and No. 50 Kentucky.
Purdue is the defending national champion, while Arizona State claimed the national title in 2009 and USC took home the national team title in 2003 and 2008. Duke has claimed five national championships over the last 12 years, including 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007.
On the individual side, 25 of the current top 50 nationally ranked players will represent their respective teams, including LSU's top-ranked Megan McChrystal, No. 2 Brooke Pancake, Alabama, No. 3 Lisa McCloskey, USC, No. 4 Camilla Lennarth, Alabama, No. 5 Lindy Duncan, Duke, No. 7 Lizette Salas, USC, No. 8 Brittany Altomare, Virginia, No. 10 Marina Alex, Vanderbilt, No. 11 Carlota Ciganda, Arizona State, No. 13 Jennifer Kirby, Alabama, No. 21 Numa Gulyanamitta, Purdue, No. 25 Stephanie Meadow, 25, No. 26 Austin Ernst, LSU, No. 31 Sophia Popov, USC, No. 34 Portland Rosen, Virginia, No. 36 Laura Gonzalez, Purdue, No. 37 Casey Grice, North Carolina, No. 38 Mary Michael Maggio, LSU, No. 41 Nathalie Mansson, Tennessee, No. 42 Paula Reto, Purdue, No. 43 Cydney Clanton, Auburn, No. 44 Megan Grehan, Vanderbilt, No. 45 Cyna Rodrigues, USC, No. 48 Janine Fellows, Tulane, No. 50 Erica Popson, Tennessee.
The Green Wave enters its biggest test of a very young spring season. TU is coming off a second-place performance at the UCF Challenge two weeks ago. The Wave features four top-125 ranked players led by Fellows, No. 56 sophomore Maribel Lopez Porras, No. 100 senior Linn Gustafsson and No. 122 junior Ashley McKenney. Tulane has finished in the top-10 in all five tournaments during the 2010-11 campaign, including three showings in the top-5.
In her last outing, McKenney rewrote the school record book for the best 54-hole total with her 7-under (70-68-71) 209 and posted the second top-5 finish of her career at the UCF Challenge. She concluded the event with three straight rounds under par for the first time in her college career and was named the Conference USA Golfer of the Week for her performance.
Fellows, who played in the 2010 U.S. Women's Open and is the reigning Conference USA and Louisiana Golfer of the Year, has a pair of top 10 finishes this season, including a second-place effort during the fall at the Golfweek Conference Challenge. She posted a 20th place effort to open the spring at the UCF Challenge.
Gustafsson, the 2009 C-USA, Louisiana Golfer of the Year, will look to rebound from a 25th place finish in the spring opener. She concluded the fall with a ninth-place showing at the Alamo Invitational.
Porras has been one of Tulane's steadiest players and has quietly made her way up near the top 50 golfers in the nation. She has a pair of top 15 finishes in her last two tournaments dating back to the fall and has three top 20 outings during her second season at Tulane. Two weeks ago, she posted an 11th place showing and tied her season low for 54 holes with a 217.
Junior Meghan Chapman is still finding her way in the line-up after transferring to TU from North Carolina State prior to the 2010-11 campaign. However, Chapman is very familiar with the course at English Turn Golf & Country Club. Last season, her NC State squad participated in the Tiger/Wave Golf Classic and Chapman carded a 9-over 225 for a 20th place finish.
"Our team looks pretty good. We've had some very good practices leading into this event and we've tried to prepare ourselves for this golf course a little differently than we have in the past. We've got a good strategy to play it this year. Obviously, the biggest key will be handling the wind this weekend. We're going to have a little wind and it will be important to make sure we have control over our golf ball and hitting the right spots on the greens."
Tulane and the Allstate Sugar Bowl will also host a junior clinic at English Turn Golf and Country Club on Feb. 27, 2011. Several of the players from the participating teams will provide instruction and lessons to junior golfers, hitting some trick shots and speaking about the duties/responsibilities of being a student-athlete in college today. Boys and girls between the ages of 5- to 18-years old are invited to attend and admission is free. The Clinic will begin at approx 3:15 pm or upon the completion of the first round of play and will conclude at 5 p.m.
Located only eight miles from New Orleans' Central Business District, the Jack Nicklaus designed par 72, 6,200 yard English Turn Golf & Country Club Championship Golf Course presents a unique challenge to golfers of any skill level with water coming into play on every hole. There are giant sand and waste bunkers guarding many holes, and numerous grass depressions and mounds line the sculptured fairways, along with huge tiered greens challenge putting strokes.
The greens are notoriously undulating, challenging yet fair for the club member and pros alike. The famed 18th of English Turn was consistently rated one of the most challenging on the PGA Tour.