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Tulane's Pratt Pulls Off Recruiting Bonanza with Trio of Highly Ranked Golfers

TULANEGREENWAVE.COM Tulane's 2012 line-up will be bolstered with the addition of three highly talented freshmen in Silvia Garces, Madison Opfer and Emily Penttila.
TULANEGREENWAVE.COM
Tulane's 2012 line-up will be bolstered with the addition of three highly talented freshmen in Silvia Garces, Madison Opfer and Emily Penttila.
TULANEGREENWAVE.COM

Dec. 9, 2011

New Orleans - Tulane first-year head women's golf coach Andrew Pratt has pulled off a recruiting coup by signing two golfers ranked among Golfweek's Junior Top-40 rankings and added a third prospect that is ranked among the top 10 players in Sweden.

Pratt's first class features the trio of Silvia Garces, Madison Opfer and Emily Penttila. Garces is rated as the 22nd ranked prep golfer according to Golfweek.com while Opfer is ranked 39th by the same publication. Penttila was the top-ranked player in Finland for girls under 21 in 2009 and is ranked No. 10 in Sweden in her age group by the Swedish Golf Federation. Only four other schools can boast two or more ranked players in the 2012 recruiting class and those include Arkansas, Georgia, Notre Dame and Stanford.

2011 Golf Signees

>> Silvia Garces-Cali
Colombia/Colegio Colombo Britanico, Pendleton School

A right-handed golfer, hails from Cali, Colombia, and attended Colegio Colombo Britanico Pendleton School and the IMG Academy as a senior. She comes to Tulane ranked 20th by the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) Polo Golf rankings and joined fellow signee Opfer on the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour. She posted three top-three finishes, including a first place showing in three outings at IMG Academy. Garces won the Old Corkscrew tournament this past October and finished with a 74.00 average for six rounds.

>> Madison Opfer
Plant City, Fla./Florida Virtual School

A native of Plant City, Fla., Opfer was a four-year letterwinner at the Florida Virtual School, where she led the team to state playoff appearances as a freshman and sophomore and played in the state tournament as an individual all four years. Opfer, who is right-handed, played both the top and second spots in the line-up as a freshman and assumed the No. 1position during her final three seasons.

>> Emily Penttila-Gothenburg
Sweden/Riksidrottsgymnasiet Klippan/Ljungbyhed

A right-handed golfer from Gothenburg, Sweden, Penttila attended the Riksidrottsgymnasiet Klippan/Ljungbyhed school. Among her top finishes, was a first place showing at the Skandia Tour Elite in 2010 and a runner-up effort at the Finnish Championship, where she shot her best score of 5-under. Over the last two years at the European Girls Team Championship, she helped her group to a 10th place finish in 2010 and a ninth place total in 2011.

"I am very excited and proud to announce my first recruiting class," Pratt said. "These three golfers will be a huge addition to our program and I expect each of them to contribute immediately. Not only are these young ladies great players, but there are great students as well and will be tremendous representatives of Tulane University. The one thing that all three of these young ladies have in common is that they all want to play golf at the next level (LPGA Tour) and that means a lot to me. I look forward to working with each of them and helping each of them reach their goals."

Garces, a right-handed golfer, hails from Cali, Colombia, and attended Colegio Colombo Britanico Pendleton School and the IMG Academy as a senior. She comes to Tulane ranked 20th by the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) Polo Golf rankings and joined fellow signee Opfer on the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour.

She posted three top-three finishes, including a first place showing in three outings at IMG Academy. Garces won the Old Corkscrew tournament this past October and finished with a 74.00 average for six rounds.

Garces claimed the 2009 AJGA Coca-Cola Junior All-Star Championship, the 2010 Torneo Selectivo al Camp. Suraamericano Juvenil and the Primera Parada Campeonato Nacional de Menores. She also took second place at the 2010 XX Campeonato Internacional and posted a third-place effort at the 2011 Coumbus Junior presented by the Memorial Tournament.

"I signed with Tulane University because it has a very strong golf program and because it is one of the best schools in the country academically," Garces said.

"Silvia is an extremely bright and very talented young golfer. She has great fundamentals and will be fully prepared for college golf with all of her hard work at the IMG Academy. She has a very solid overall game with a great attitude on the course. Her length off the tee and her iron play will be a huge asset in college golf," Pratt said.

A native of Plant City, Fla., Opfer was a four-year letterwinner at the Florida Virtual School, where she led the team to state playoff appearances as a freshman and sophomore and played in the state tournament as an individual all four years. Opfer, who is right-handed, played both the top and second spots in the line-up as a freshman and assumed the No. 1position during her final three seasons.

During her high school career, she captured medalist honors twice in district play and once in regional play and finished as the runner-up twice in regional competition and one time in district action. Her best showing at the state tournament was third place as a junior. Opfer's career low round was a 67 during her sophomore year in regional action, while her lowest score for nine holes was a 33 in her final regular season match as a senior.

Outside of high school golf, she qualified for the Women's Amateur Public Links twice and also qualified for the U.S. Girls' Junior event. She has notched six victories on the Florida Junior Tour in the last four years and also won the 2011 Florida Women's Junior Girls' Championship with a 65-79. Opfer tied for 55th in the 2010 LPGA Futures Tour event.

"I chose Tulane because I wanted to be a part of a competitive golf team and I also wanted to get an education from a school I could be proud of," Opfer said. "Tulane had both of those things. I also love Tulane because of the atmosphere. It is friendly and I feel like it is somewhere I could fit in easily."

"I am extremely excited to have Madison apart of the Tulane program for the next four years. She has one of hardest work ethics I have ever seen from a junior player. She has great fundamentals and knows how to win tournaments and shoot under par. She's a student of the game and only wants to learn and get better each and every day and I love that," Pratt said.

A right-handed golfer from Gothenburg, Sweden, Penttila attended the Riksidrottsgymnasiet Klippan/Ljungbyhed school. Among her top finishes, was a first place showing at the Skandia Tour Elite in 2010 and a runner-up effort at the Finnish Championship, where she shot her best score of 5-under. Over the last two years at the European Girls Team Championship, she helped her group to a 10th place finish in 2010 and a ninth place total in 2011.

She also participated in the 2011 Girls' British Open Amateur Championship and helped Finland to a 10th place finish.

"I signed with Tulane because Andrew is a coach that invests in the future and owns an excellent network. The practice facilities are really good and the weather is just great without any snow," Penttila said. "Tulane feels like the perfect place for me to develop and to come a step closer to my dreams."

"Emily is an extremely talented golfer who is just now seeing her full potential as a player. She has always been one of the top junior Finnish players but decided to take her game to another level by enrolling in the Swedish national junior program. She is the only Finnish girl golfer that has ever been accepted into the Swedish national junior program and I believe that says a lot about her character and golfing ability. Her work ethic and knowledge of the game is tremendous and I look forward to helping Emily reach her dreams while she is here at Tulane," Pratt said.

2012 Tulane Green Wave Signing Class

Name	        Ht.	R/L Handed	Hometown/High School
Silvia Garces	5-7	R	        Cali, Colombia/Colegio Colombo Britanico, Pendleton School
Madison Opfer	5-4	R	        Plant City, Fla./Florida Virtual School
Emily Penttila	5-7	R	        Gothenburg, Sweden/Riksidrottsgymnasiet Klippan/Ljungbyhed