April 21, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - The 20th-ranked Tulane golf team returns to the links this week with their eye on a conference title as the Green Wave joins league members at the 2013 Conference USA Championships, Monday-Wednesday, April 22-24 at the Peninsula Golf & Country Club in Gulf Shores, Ala.
The three-day, 54-hole event is hosted by UAB and will feature 18 holes each day on the par-72, 6,246-yard course. Tulane will join golfers from UCF and SMU and the groups will begin the first round from the first tee at 8:35 a.m. on Monday. Tuesday's second round and Wednesday's final round are each slated to begin at 7:30 a.m.
Tulane enters this year's event as the highest ranked team in a field that features four squads ranked among the nation's Top-50 in the latest Golfstat.com rakings, including East Carolina (No. 47), Marshall, Memphis, Old Dominion, SMU (No. 33), Southern Miss, Tulsa, UAB, UCF (No. 42) and UTEP.
It has been two years since Tulane claimed its last C-USA championship and the Green Wave looks to get back into title contention this week. The Green Wave won back-to-back league titles in 2009 and 2010 and finished third in its last two appearances.
"The team put together a solid week of practice in preparation for the C-USA Championship and the key for us to play well this week and it has been this all year is to stay extremely patient and focus only on the shot at hand," Tulane head coach Andrew Pratt said. "We can't control anything but the way we think and our emotions."
"This is just another tournament in our schedule and that's how we need to approach this week. Every sport makes a big deal about their conference tournament but if you're playing for that one week all year then you'll never play well. We have another month left in our season and this team is getting better every week and I look for them to do that this week," Pratt added.
Tulane's line-up has been a force this season with four of five golfers recording rounds in the high 60's and three golfers have top five finishes, while Porras captured the Alamo Invitational individual title in the fall finale and sophomore Gemma Dryburgh claimed the Old Waverly Bulldog Invitational in the fall opener.
Freshman Emily Penttila is second on the team with a 73.96 average, while rookie Madison Opfer is third with a 74.65, followed by Dryburgh with a 74.83 and freshman Silvia Garces rounds out the line-up with a 76.52.
TU has four of Top-5 finishes in as many tournaments this spring, including a runner-up effort in the spring opener at the UCF Challenge and the LSU Golfer Classic, a third place effort at the Rebel Intercollegiate and a fourth-place finish at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate Golf Championship. Dating back to the fall, the Wave has six Top-5 finishes in eight tournaments this season.