Sept. 20, 2013
WOLCOTT, Colo. (SMU) - The SMU women's golf team will open its 2013-14 campaign at the Golfweek Conference Challenge at Red Sky Golf Club on Monday. It is the fifth year of the event, run by Golfweek Magazine. The three-day 54 hole event features a representative from 18 conferences.
Ball State (MAC), Boston College (ACC), Central Arkansas (Southland), Denver (Summit), East Tennessee State (Atlantic Sun), Florida International (Conference USA), Harvard (Ivy), Illinois State (Missouri Valley), Indiana (Big Ten), James Madison (Colonial), Morehead State (Ohio Valley), Northern Arizona (Big Sky), Pepperdine (WCC), San Jose State (WAC), SMU (American), TCU (Big 12), UALR (Sun Belt), UC Davis (Big West).
Pepperdine has won two of the previous four Golfweek Conference Challenges, including last year's victory. Reigning individual champion Demi Runas has graduated, but her alma mater, UC Davis will return to the tournament field in 2013. The Aggies finished second at the tournament a year ago.
IN THE RANKINGS
SMU finished the 2012 campaign at No.36 in both the Golfweek and Golfstat rankings. In 2013, the Mustangs received votes in the Golf World/WGCA Preseason Poll.
HEAD COACH Jeanne Sutherland
Heading into her third season at SMU, and her 18th season as a college coach overall, Jeanne Sutherland will return to a familiar part of not only the country, but of the state of Colorado this weekend, as the Mustangs head to Wolcott, Colo., just outside of Vail, Colo. Prior to her current stint at SMU, the two-time Regional Coach of the Year spent three seasons as a head professional at Vail Golf Club. Sutherland and the Mustangs are coming off their first trip to the NCAA Regionals as a team since the 2007 season. In addition to her two Regional honors, Sutherland has been named conference coach of the year four times in her career. Prior to serving as a pro in Vail, Sutherland held a 15-year stint at the helm of Texas A&M's program.
SECOND YEAR LEADER
Sophomore Jenny Haglund comes off a 2012-13 campaign that saw the Mustang rookie finish in the top 20 in five of her nine tournaments played, including back-to-back third place finishes at the Central District Invitational and the 2013 Clover Cup. Haglund golfed six of her 25 rounds at par or better, including a five-under 67 in the second round of the Clover Cup.
"Jenny's a special player," Sutherland said. "She has the ability to just play golf without putting pressure on herself. She was fighting her golf swing a little bit last year, and still managed to have a very good year for us. Her golf professional at home (in Sweden) worked very hard with her over the summer, and she's really got her swing in the place where it needs to be able to score consistently, and be a good ball striker."
JUST ANOTHER WALK IN THE PARK
Junior Jennifer Park is the only Mustang to compete in all 12 tournaments in 2012-13. Park, who transferred from ULM after her freshman campaign, was an All-Sun Belt Conference selection in 2011-12. The Carrolton, Texas, native is slated to play in her 60th round of collegiate golf on Monday. Park finished the 2012-13 campaign with a low round of 67, and five rounds at par or better.
The two lone seniors on the 2013-14 roster will make appearances in the Mustangs lineup at Red Sky Golf Club this weekend. Maria Elena Villamil was second on the team with 11 tournaments played (31 rounds) a year ago. Villamil's top finish was at the Chip-N-Club Invitational, a 15th-place mark in the opening tournament of the 2012-13 campaign. Caitlin Pisciotta played in five tournaments and 13 rounds last year, averaging 236.5 in three-round tournaments.
NO. 4 READY FOR YEAR NUMBER TWO
Sophomore Alexandra Rossi enters the second year of her collegiate career as the fourth golfer in the lineup in her 10th-career tournament this week. Rossi golfed three of her 25 rounds at par or better in 2012-13, including a pair of 68s in final rounds at the Chip-N Club Invitational and the Susie Maxwell Berning Classic. The Austin, Texas, native won the Chip-N Club Invite with a three-over 219.
LAST TIME OUT
The Mustangs wrapped up the 2012-13 campaign with a 13th-place finish at the NCAA Central Regional (Norman, Okla.). Haglund finished in a tie for 16th at the Regional, shooting rounds of 73, 73 and 72 at the Jimmie Austin OU Gold Club. Four of the five golfers that Sutherland has in her lineup this week participated in that Regional a year ago. Pisciotta, who played in five tournaments, last year, is the only Mustang in this weekend's lineup to not play in that Regional.
"I think we saw that we were very close to putting it together and getting to Nationals last year," Sutherland said. "It really increased the team's desire to compete at that level. It's a dogfight to get in the lineup right now. We have nine players on the team, and all nine of them can play. I don't think anyone is taking their spot for granted. Everyone's working really hard for the opportunity to represent SMU."