March 8, 2008
The second-ranked UCLA women's golf team travels to the second annual UCF Challenge, hosted by the University of Central Florida at the RedTail Golf Club in Sorrento, Fla.
The tournament runs from Mar. 9-11 and features 18 holes of stroke play per day. The course measures 6,301 yards with a par of 72.
The Bruins won two of four events in the Fall and placed third twice. In two Winter events, UCLA won the Regional Challenge and placed sixth at the Arizona Wildcat Invitational.
UCLA's trip to Florida represents its first visit to the Sunshine State since placing third at the 2007 NCAA Championship in Daytona Beach, Fla.
"We've never played RedTail, but I understand it's a great golf course," said Head Coach Carrie Forsyth. "We won't be at a disadvantage because last year's event was played at a different venue."
Included in the 18-team field are top-ranked Duke, the defending champion, No.4 USC, No.5 Florida and No.8 Arkansas. In all, 12 teams in the field are ranked in GolfWeek's Top 25 this week.
Individually, the field includes the nation's top three ranked players in Duke's Amanda Blumenherst, who won medalist honors at this event last season, Arkansas' Stacy Lewis and UCLA's Tiffany Joh.
At the Arizona Wildcat Invitational, Duke finished third behind USC and Oklahoma State. The Bruins' posted an uncharacteristically high second round (321, +37) in windy conditions.
"Based on our final round at the Wildcat (295, +11), we know we can play in the wind," said Forsyth. "I expect our experience and results to be better at this tournament."
In addition to Joh, who is ranked third nationally this week, the UCLA contingent includes junior captain Ryann O'Toole, sophomore Sydnee Michaels and freshmen Maria Jose Uribe and Glory Yang. Michaels, who tied for 20th at the Arizona event, is ranked 21st in the country. Uribe, the 2007 U.S. Women's Amateur champion, is ranked 19th nationally and Yang, who tied for 16th in Arizona, is ranked 10th.
Joh, the reigning Pac-10 champion, has finished no worse than 13th in any tournament this season. She leads the team with five Top 10 finishes, eight rounds under par and a scoring average of 72.0. In October, she won her second career tournament, tying for first place with Uribe for the title at the Kent Youel Invitational in Hawaii.
Yang ranks second on the team with a scoring average of 73.0. She has placed among the Top 20 individuals in each of her six starts. Her best finish was a tie for second at the Regional Challenge that the Bruins won in February.