Feb. 7, 2010
The top-ranked UCLA women's golf team begins the 2010 Spring season at the 15th Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, Feb. 8-10 at the Palos Verdes Golf Club in Palos Verdes, Calif.
The Palos Verdes GC will play to a par of 71 over 5,912 yards.
UCLA won this tournament in 2004 and 2008 and has produced one individual champion in Charlotte Mayorkas (2004).
This season, UCLA headlines a strong field that includes defending NCAA champion Arizona State, currently ranked No.1 in the GolfWeek poll. The Sun Devils are also the defending champions of this event. Also featured in the field are No.5 Michigan State, seventh-ranked Duke and No.9 USC. In the GolfWeek poll, the Bruins are ranked No.2, but they own the top billing in the GolfStat rankings. Arizona State is ranked third by GolfStat.
"We're ranked No.1 by GolfStat because of our consistency," said Head Coach Carrie Forsyth.
In four Fall events, the Bruins were runners-up in each of them. No other team has more than two victories or as many consistent results.
Still, the Bruins face a big challenge this week with sophomore All-American Stephanie Kono sidelined with an injury.
"It will be a great experience for our team to play with the added pressure of knowing that everyone must step up in order for us to do well," said Forsyth. "We know that having a good finish would be a nice way to start out the Spring season."
UCLA's lineup will feature one senior, two juniors, a sophomore and a freshman. Senior Sydnee Michaels is UCLA's top-ranked player, entering the week at No.4. She leads the team in stroke average at 71.1 and has played eight rounds this season in four-under par. Michaels' best finish at this event was a tie for 10th in 2008.
Juniors Glory Yang and Lalita Boonnoppornkul are also in the lineup this week. Yang recorded a scoring average of 73.6 in 11 rounds in the Fall and tied for 16th in her last event. She enters the tournament with 16 career Top 20 finishes. In her previous two Regional Challenge tournaments, Yang tied for second as a freshman in 2008 and tied for 13th last year. Boonnoppornkul will be playing in her third event this season, and second as a member of the top five. Her best result was a tie for 51st at the Stanford Invitational in October.
Sophomore Brianna Do, in her first full-time season as a regular, has climbed to No.41 in the national rankings on the strength of her 72.9 scoring average and three Top 20 results in the Fall.
Finally, freshman Tiffany Lua enters the weekend ranked 34th with a 72.4 scoring average and a pair of Top 10 finishes in the Fall.
"We are very excited to be playing in the Regional Challenge next week," said Forsyth. "It's been a long layoff since November, and our team is eager to get back out on the course."