2015-16 W. Golf Season Recap

  • 133-36-2 record
  • 3rd at SECS
  • Fifth at NCAA Stanford Regional
  • T12 at the NCAA Championship
  • Maria Fassi
    • All-SEC Second-Team
    • SEC All-Freshman Team
    • Women’s Golf Coaches Association All-America Honorable Mention
    • Walmart NW Arkansas LPGA Championship presented by P&G Sponsor’s Exemption
  • Summar Roachell
    • SEC Women’s Golf Community Service Team
  • Women’s Golf Team Perfect 1000 APR
  • Current Strength of Schedule 73.12 ranks seventh in nation
  • http://golfweek.com/rankings/
  • Team Rankings are 12th in Golfweek and 11th in Golfstat
  • Alana Uriell
    • 2016 WGCA All-Central Region Team
  • Olympic Team Selections – Stacy Lewis (USA), Gabriela Lopez (Mexico) – not final yet but likely
  • Fall Department Honor Roll
    • Academic Champion – Shawn Rennegarbe
    • ADs List – Cara Gorlei, Jordy LaBarbera, Samantha Marks, Regina Plasencia, Summer Roachell
    • Honor Roll – Alana Uriell
  • Spring Department Honor Roll
    • Academic Champion Shawn Rennegarbe
    • Ads List — Cara Gorlei, Samantha Marks, Regina Plasencia
    • Honor Roll – Maria Fassi, Jordy LaBarbera, Summar Roachell
  • Spring SEC lists are TBA

Razorbacks Open Season Ranked No. 4 by Golfweek
2014-15 in review: Arkansas won twice during the regular season before finishing eighth at the SEC Championship. The Razorbacks qualified for the NCAA Championship and then finished ninth, a spot out of match play.
Notable departures: None
Key returnees: Gaby Lopez, Regina Plasencia
Newcomers of note: Cara Gorlei
Fall schedule: Powerade Cougar Classic, Sept. 13-15; ANNIKA Intercollegiate, Sept. 27-29; Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational, Oct. 9-11; Alamo Invitational, Oct. 25-27.

Fall outlook: Led by seniors Gaby Lopez and Regina Plasencia, the Razorbacks have plenty of experience atop a lineup that didn’t lose anybody to graduation. Head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor is also excited about the addition of freshman Cara Gorlei from South Africa. Juniors Samantha Marks and Summar Roachell, and sophomore Alana Uriell, all of whom finished inside the top 200 of the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, add to Arkansas’ depth.

Coach’s perspective: “Our biggest strength is our leadership and depth. Not losing anyone from last year’s team and gaining a seasoned international player like Cara Gorlei, we have much needed depth to help us stay competitive on a daily basis as well as the ability to compete with several different lineups. The leadership that Gaby and Regina provide is really like having two additional coaches. They do such a tremendous job of setting the bar high while motivating and helping our underclassmen develop in all areas. This is a special group and I’m excited to see the season unfold.” – Estes-Taylor

Razorbacks Start Year With Win At Powerade Cougar Classic
Three players in the top 10 powered the fourth-ranked University of Arkansas women’s golf team to the tournament win at the Powerade Cougar Classic in Charleston, South Carolina. The Razorbacks led wire-to-wire but battled tough conditions and a strong field in the final round. Only one team was under par and Arkansas’ four-over 292 was enough to hang on for the seven-shot win. The Razorbacks finished with rounds of 282-283-292 — 857 to pick up back-to-back wins at this event.

Senior Regina Plasencia moved up three spots in the final round shooting a two-under 70 to tie for third place overall. Plasencia is in the clubhouse with rounds of 70-72-70 — 212. The Guadalajara, Mexico, native turned even with two birdies and two bogeys on the front side. She birdied the 10th and 11th holes but gave a shot back on No. 13 with a bogey. Plasencia got that shot back on No. 15 and finished with three consecutive par holes for her tie for third place. Sophomore Alana Uriell made a five-spot move and posted a career-best finish tying for fifth. The Carlsbad, Calif., native shot 73-70-71 — 214. Senior All-American Gabriela Lopez finished tied for seventh overall. The Mexico City, Mexico, native carded rounds of 68-70-77 — 215. Junior Summar Roachell was just outside the top 10 tying for 12th place shooting 71-71-75 — 217, and junior Samantha Marks rounded out the scoring tying for 56th with 75-76-76 — 227.

The Fall Season
Arkansas played four events in the fall, winning one tournament (Powerade Cougar Classic) and posting top-three finishes in in the others. Arkansas was third at the invitation-only ANNIKA Intercollegiate facing one of the toughest fields outside the NCAA Championship. The Razorbacks grabbed back-to-back runner-up finishes at the Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational and the Alamo Invitational as the successful fall came to a close.
• 1st of 20 teams Powerade Cougar Classic
• 3rd of 12 teams ANNIKA Intercollegiate
• 2nd of 18 teams Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational
• 2nd of 15 teams The Alamo Invitational

An Equally Good Spring
Arkansas was just as strong in the spring opening play with the first of two runner-up finishes in seven events. The Razorbacks finished second at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic and the LSU Tiger Golf Classic and added a third-place showing at the SEC Championship. Arkansas had to scratch its way back up the leaderboard at the SEC event after a slow start on day one.

• 2nd of 16 teams Lady Puerto Rico Classic
• 6th of 17 teams Darius Rucker Intercollegiate
• 2nd of 17 teams LSU Tiger Golf Classic
• T9th of 17 teams Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic
• 3rd of 14 teams SEC Championship
• 5th of 23 teams Stanford NCAA Regional Championship
• T12 of 24 teams NCAA Championship

The Postseason
First round struggles at the SEC Championship and the NCAA Stanford Regional forced Arkansas to scratch back up the leaderboard in the first two of three postseason events this year. Arkansas opened SEC Championship play with a 300 on the Legacy Course in Birmingham but rallied with 293-288 moving up in the standings to a third-place finish. It is the 10th top-five finish in 21 SEC Championship appearances and the seventh under head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor.

In similar fashion, Arkansas started slow at the NCAA Stanford Regional shooting 298 but the team moved up with rounds of 291-290 on days two and three. The final two rounds saw the Razorbacks jump up to fifth place allowing the team to move on to the NCAA Championship. It was the eighth time Arkansas has advanced to the NCAA Championship in program history, the second consecutive appearance and the sixth time under Estes-Taylor.

In the second year under the new NCAA Championship format, the Razorbacks survived the first cut to the low 15 teams moving on to the final round of stroke play. Arkansas was on pace after the first two rounds with a shot at making the top eight to move on to match play but a tough third round dropped the Razorbacks down the leaderboard and out of contention. Arkansas was strong again in the final round of stroke play finishing tied for 12th place in the 24-team field.

Alana Uriell Loves The Postseason
Sophomore Alana Uriell seems to step up under the intense pressure of the postseason. Last season as a true freshman, Uriell tied Razorback All-American Gabriela Lopez for runner-up honors at the NCAA St. George (Utah) Regional. This year she bettered her SEC finish from last season from a tie for 27th to a tie for 13th in Birmingham, Alabama, this year. She rallied the team at the Stanford Regional finishing third after being in contention for the win through the first two rounds. She was solid with a first round 72 but her second round 67 followed by a final day 71 lifted Arkansas up the leaderboard into one of the coveted top six spots allowing the team to move on to the NCAA Championship.

Uriell moved on to the NCAA Championship where she again paced the Razorbacks. She was Arkansas’ low finisher tying for 20th overall shooting 70-74-74-71 — 289. Uriell’s final round featured five birdies including her two finishing holes on Nos. 8 and 9 to finish one-under on the day. Uriell earned her second consecutive NCAA All-Region honor and was a Women’s Golf Coaches Association Honorable Mention All-American.

One Door Closes and Another Opens
Arkansas All-American Gabriela Lopez began her senior season poised for her best collegiate season as an individual and as a team leader for the Razorbacks. She opened the year with back-to-back top-10 finishes before another opportunity presented itself as the LPGA came calling. Lopez began her quest for a professional career at the LPGA’s Qualifying School, a three-stage challenge to earn her Tour card. Lopez finished tied for 10th in the final stage.

“Right now I have a million emotions in my mind and in my heart,” Lopez said. “This round was a tough one. I didn’t expect it to be that hard but I proved to myself that I was prepared for that moment.”

“Arkansas has been a huge part of my career,” Lopez explained. “I improved so much on the golf course and matured so much on and off the golf course. I’m so blessed to be part of such a great program. I’m just really grateful because they helped me get to this point. Without them I don’t know if I would be here.”

Now that she has her LPGA Tour Card locked up, Lopez can set her sights even higher for 2016.

“I came to Q-School to open myself up to get a chance for Rio (2016 Olympic Games). That’s my ultimate goal,” Lopez said. “The first step was getting the card and then the next one is getting to Rio but it’s so far ahead right now. I just need to take one tournament at a time and do my best every single shot I hit and if it turns out that I go to Rio that’s great.”

As Lopez moved on, skipping her final semester of college golf, the door opened for countrywoman Maria Fassi. Fassi graduated high school early and joined the Razorbacks at the semester. Expectations were high for Fassi but no one expected her to come in and win her first collegiate event – which is just what she did. Fassi moved up from a tie for 12th after round one into the lead on Monday and held on in touch conditions Tuesday picking up medalist honors. Fassi posted rounds of 72-67-69=208 going eight-under edging Texas Tech’s Gabby Barker by one stroke. In her final round, Fassi opened with three par rounds followed by a three on the par-five fourth hole moving to two-under. She added three birdies and two bogeys and finished with four consecutive par holes for the win.

Fassi went on to a great spring, qualifying for event tournament, earning All-SEC Second-Team and SEC All-Freshman Team honors after seven events. She had four top-10 finishes and finished the year with Arkansas’ lowest stroke average earning the sponsor’s exemption to the Walmart NW Arkansas LPGA Championship presented by P&G.

Graduation For A Pair of Razorbacks
After advancing through the NCAA Stanford Regional, senior Regina Plasencia returned to Fayetteville and participated in graduation ceremonies the following week. She was joined by countrywoman and current LPGA profession Gabriela Lopez, both of whom earned their degrees in four years. Plasencia graduated with a degree in international business with a minor in French while Lopez earned her degree in communication.

Perfect APR
For a program-record seventh time, the University of Arkansas women’s golf program earned a public recognition award for its exemplary academic performance from the NCAA on Wednesday. The Razorbacks’ women’s golf program was honored for its standing among the top 10 percent of academic performing teams in the country among women’s golf programs in the multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) for the 2014-15 academic year.

“Helping young women learn and grow through academics, life experiences and athletics is part of our mission as coaches at the University of Arkansas and I couldn’t be more proud of our team’s accomplishments, especially in the classroom,” Arkansas head women’s golf coach Shauna Estes-Taylor said. “This is our seventh NCAA APR Recognition Award and it is just as important to us as winning any golf tournament. We recruit young women who value education and who want to grow in all areas. I’m proud that our team’s hard work is showing these kinds of results.”

The women’s golf program earned a perfect 1,000 multiyear APR rate based on scores from the 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years. In addition to this year’s selection, the Razorback women’s golf program was previously recognized for the 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.

Counting High Numbers in the Classroom
Getting it done in the classroom is important to Razorback women’s golf. This year, Arkansas posted a 3.44 grade-point average for the year. That includes a 3.5 GPA in the fall and a 3.38 term GPA in the spring semesters. The Razorbacks have been above a 3.0 for 35 of 39 semesters since added women’s golf.

Academic Honor Rolls
Seven Razorbacks earned selection to both the University’s fall and spring department honor rolls. Sophomore Shawn Rennegarbe posted a perfect 4.0 grade point average in both semesters and was selected to the Academic Champions list. Cara Gorlei, Samantha Marks and Regina Plasencia were two-time Athletic Director’s list selections while Jordy LaBarbera and Summer Roachell were on the AD’s list in the fall. LaBarbera and Roachell along with newcomer Maria Fassi were spring Honor Roll selections while Alana Uriell was on the fall Honor Roll.

  • Fall Department Honor Roll
    • Academic Champion – Shawn Rennegarbe
    • ADs List – Cara Gorlei, Jordy LaBarbera, Samantha Marks, Regina Plasencia, Summer Roachell
    • Honor Roll – Alana Uriell
  • Spring Department Honor Roll
    • Academic Champion Shawn Rennegarbe
    • Ads List — Cara Gorlei, Samantha Marks, Regina Plasencia
    • Honor Roll – Maria Fassi, Jordy LaBarbera, Summar Roachell
  • Spring SEC lists are TBA

Roachell Represents in the Community
Summar Roachell earned her second consecutive selection to the SEC Women’s Golf Community Service team. Here are just a few of the events Roachell was involved in this season: Team leader for individual community service hours … Helped team be among leaders on campus for community service hours … Worked several events including First Tee Kids Lesson, Sweat Hogs PE Class Visit at St. Joe’s, Shop With SAAC, Adopt A Family –Local Church, Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis, Volunteered at the American Junior Golf Association, Braves Miracle League Baseball, Ronald McDonald Charity House Event, Dog Adoption Day, Sweat Hogs PE Class visit @ Happy Hollow Elementary School, Book Hogs Kickoff @ Asbell Elementary School, National Girls & Women’s Day in Sports, Book Hogs Kickoff @ Leverett Elementary School.