April 20, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - Tulane's 29th-ranked (Golfweek) golf team will open its final Conference USA Championship with its sights on defending its title while looking to add a sixth league crown to its trophy case when the 2014 Championships take place this Monday-Wednesday, April 21-23, at the Peninsula Golf Club in Gulf Shores, Ala.
The championship consists of 54 holes on a par 72, 6,145-yard course spanning three days, with the winning team receiving an automatic berth into the NCAA Regionals. This is the fourth-straight year that the tournament has been hosted at the Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club.
Tulane, East Carolina and UTSA - the top-three seeds at this year's championship, respectively - will tee off from the first tee box beginning at 8:40 a.m. CDT.
The Green Wave is the defending team champion and captured the school's fifth league title with a 27-stroke win over runner-up East Carolina a year ago. TU then-sophomore Gemma Dryburgh tied for individual medalist honors, but lost in a three-way play-off, while all five Green Wave golfers posted a top 10 finish.
"We will need a consistent effort for the entire line-up from each of our players to win the Conference USA Championship," Tulane head coach Lorne Don said. "The team is excited to get back to Gulf Shores and play in this event. Four of golfers have been to this facility and played its course, so they will be comfortable with the set up."
"As a coach, you want to have the pressure of winning conference championships. I came from a place where we were used to win league titles and we have that same expectation at Tulane. This is our last C-USA Championship so we want to win it and go out on a high note," Don added.
Penttila leads TU with a 73.00 scoring average and is coming off a third place performance in the team's last event at the Rebel Intercollegiate. Dryburgh is second with a 73.76 average, while Garces (73.78) and Opfer (73.83) ranks third and fourth, respectively, and Goicoechea is fifth with a 75.38 scoring average.
"There is always pressure with postseason play but this is the time of year that you prepare for during the entire season. Every year we want to compete for conference title, advance to regionals and play for a national championship. This weekend is the first step toward accomplishing our goals," Don said.
Tulane has won three conference titles since the program was re-launched in 2008, including 2009 (Tulsa, Okla.), 2010 (Hattiesburg, Miss.) and 2013 (Gulf Shores, Ala.) The Wave also brought home the C-USA trophy in 2005 (Memphis, Tenn.) and 2004 (Fort Worth, Tenn.), while finishing as the runner-up in 2002 (Hattiesburg, Miss.), 1999 (Destin, Fla.) and 1998 (Pensacola, Fla.).
Six TU golfers have claimed C-USA individual medalist honors a total of seven times, including Pam Buff (1998, 1999), Liliana Alvarez (2004), Alison Walshe (2005), Daniela Holmqvist (2009), Ashley McKenney (2010) and Maribel Lopez Porras (2012).