Lewis qualifies for the NCAA Golf Championship on tough final day

Jump to results ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Golf can be a cruel game. That proved to be the case for the 26th-ranked University of Arkansas women’s golf team at the NCAA Central Regional Championship Saturday. Despite the team’s hardships, Lady Razorback junior Stacy Lewis blistered the course and qualified as an individual for the 2007 NCAA Championship in Daytona Beach, Fla., May 22-25. The colder temperatures and windy conditions on the final day didn’t rattle Arkansas’ three-time all-Southeastern Conference and two-time all-American as The Woodlands, Texas, native carded a final round even-par 71 for a 213 (70-72-71). Lewis was even for the tournament and finished tied for third overall. It is the highest individual finish by a Lady Razorback at the Regional Championship and her 213 is the best score posted by a Lady’Back by nine strokes. “A round of even par today is outstanding,” said Arkansas head coach Kelley Hester. “She even birdied some holes coming in. Stacy is a great player and today she did what great players do. She adjusted, adapted and figured out a way to get the ball in the hole. I couldn’t be more proud of her.” Lewis opened her round with a birdie on the par-five first hole but returned to even on third, a long par five that bit her for a six. She moved to one-over on the ninth hole after missing a put and went to plus-two on 12. But Lewis hung in there with back-to-back birdies on the par four 15th and 16th holes moving back even. The Lady Razorbacks were in the hunt as a team until the bitter end despite the higher than average scores. Arkansas finished ninth for the tournament, just five strokes out of the top eight who qualified for the NCAA Championship. The Lady Razorbacks posted a final round 314 for 906 (291-301-314). “It was very disappointing,” said Hester. “There is really nothing worse in our sport than to not make the NCAA Championship by just five strokes. I told the team coming into the tournament that our good golf would be good enough to get us through and it would have been. We just didn’t play well today.” Difficult pin placement and changing conditions hampered Arkansas all day. Freshman Corinna Rees finished the day with a final round 77 for a 227 (73-77-77) posting a career-best round for the Pebble Beach, Calif., native. Freshman Alex Schulted carded a final round 80 for a 235 (77-78-80), followed by a 236 from freshman Kristin Ingram (76-74-86) and a 239 from sophomore Lucy Nunn (72-79-88). Final places for the individuals were not complete at the time this story was written. “I told this team that we are a group of puppies and puppies have to grow,” said Hester. “That’s what we did today. We have to let this burn in us until next year and then turn it into positives on the golf course. We are so young and we can only get better. It’s pretty amazing to have the type of day we did and still be so close.” Although the several teams were still out on the golf course, the top eight qualifying teams were pretty solid. Ninth-ranked Southern California won the event with an 860 followed by No. 3 Georgia (880), No. 23 TCU (883), No. 50 Indiana (884), No. 15 Arizona (885), No. 4 Vanderbilt (886), No. 10 Tennessee (893) and No. 22 Michigan State (901). For more information about Lewis and the Lady Razorbacks please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.