Razorbacks heat it up in Tempe

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TEMPE, Ariz. – The 16th-ranked University of Arkansas women’s golf team battled opponents, the golf course and the elements finishing the day tied for seventh at the 2009 NCAA West Regional Championship in Tempe, Ariz., Friday. As the morning wave cleared the course and the afternoon groups, including Arkansas, headed out, temperatures reached 98 degrees and continued to climb as the nearly six hour round ground on. But Arkansas held on finishing the day eight-over at Karsten Golf Course on the campus of Arizona State University. The Razorbacks will have a morning tee time in the final round of the tournament with the top eight teams advancing to the NCAA Championship. “This heat and these conditions are brutal,” said Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor. “We took every precaution we could but it’s impossible to prepare for this. I thought we hung in there and finished strong. We’re right where we want to be and that’s in the position to advance to nationals. We want to look up, not down, the leaderboard and finish tomorrow strong.” Arkansas got a Herculean effort from lone senior Lucy Nunn who played par golf shooting a 72 for the second consecutive day. Nunn, a Lawton, Okla., native, is tied for 13th overall with a 144 (72-72). Nunn and the Razorbacks opened the day on the first hole and she was one-under at the turn. The back nine plays longer and as the temperatures climbed, the green speeds changed from the first round. Sophomore Kelli Shean was solid counting a 74 in the second round. The Cape Town, South Africa, native, is tied for 34th overall with a 147 (73-74). Shean, in fact, is tied with teammates Katy Nugent and Kristin Ingram in that 34th spot. Both Nugent and Ingram opened with par 72s on the first day followed by 75s Friday for 147. Junior Alex Schulte turned in a second round 77 and is tied for 60th overall at 152 (75-77). Schulte ran into some trouble after making the turn but finished with four pars to end her round. “I’m really proud of Katy,” said Estes-Taylor. “She battled out there and is really putting together a great tournament. Lucy showed great poise, especially on the final hole where she hit a long putt to save par. Kristin is hitting it well and Kelli and Alex are due for a low round. “This team has worked hard all year and they deserve to be in this position,” Estes-Taylor continued. “We have to finish strong and I think that is something we’re certainly capable of.” Host and top-ranked Arizona State continues to lead the tournament. The Sun Devils are 20-under and in the clubhouse with a 556. Fourth-ranked Southern California is second at 572, followed by No. 25 UC-Irvine in third with 573. Number 45 Texas is fourth with 578 and No. 36 TCU rounds out the top five with 582. Southeastern Conference rival and No. 8 LSU is sixth with a 583 just ahead of No. 16 Arkansas and No. 39 Texas A&M who are tied in seventh with 585. The rest of the field includes No. 22 Arizona and No. 21 California tied for ninth with 588, No. 13 Pepperdine in 11th with 594, No. 41 Oregon in 12th with 597, No. 29 San Francisco in 13th with 598, No. 18 San Jose State in 14th with 604, Northern Arizona and Baylor in a tie for 15th with 608, No. 47 Long Beach State is 17th with 609, No. 34 UNLV is 18th with 612, No. 44 Colorado and Oral Roberts are tied for 19th with 617 and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is 21st with 618.