Golf at SECs
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Arkansas played a practice round Thursday in preparation for the 2010 Southeastern Conference Women’s Golf Championship at North River Yacht Club in Tuscaloosa, Ala., this weekend.
Arkansas, ranked No. 35 in this week’s golfstat.com head-to-head, enters the event with back-to-back runner-up finishes under head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor. The Razorbacks have changed up the lineup and are ready to go for the weekend.
“This is a tough conference,” Estes-Taylor said. “We could win the tournament or, if we play mediocre golf, we could finish way down the line. I think that’s true for most of the teams out here today.”
In addition to the Razorbacks, the rest of the field includes No. 4 Auburn, No. 6 Alabama, No. 15 Georgia, No. 16 Tennessee, No. 17 LSU, No. 19 Florida, No. 20 Vanderbilt, No. 30 South Carolina, No. 52 Ole Miss, No. 78 Kentucky and No. 129 Mississippi State.
Arkansas has been pretty steady with the top of its lineup this year. Junior Kelli Shean has been the team’s most consistent player this year and ranks in the top 10 in the SEC heading into the championship.
Senior Kristin Ingram and freshman Victoria Vela have also played well. Ingram battled through an early spring slump but played some of her best golf in recent events. Vela has been steady and was Arkansas’ low finisher once this season.
It’s been the four and five spots that Estes-Taylor and the Razorbacks have been looking to solidify this year. Four different players have fought for the traveling spots and this week Tiffany Phelps and Alex Schulte advanced through the home qualifier earning the trip.
Phelps has been in and out of the lineup all year in the midst of her best season with the team. Schulte was a regular in the lineup until a wrist injury sidelined the Oklahoma native for much of the spring.
“I have about four players who could all be in those spots,” Estes-Taylor said. “I’m very confidence with all of them and I know the two who play will make the most of their opportunities.
“It’s been a little bit different for me to really not have a set lineup at this point of the year,” Estes-Taylor continued, “but I think that is due to more depth on the team. It’s a good problem to have a lot of players who can contribute.”
Play begins Friday with the Razorbacks teeing off with Alabama and Auburn from the 10th tee at 9:20 a.m. Live stats are available at golfstat.com.