Women's Golf Opens NCAA Championships Play


FAYETTEVILLE — The fifth-ranked Arkansas women’s golf team isn’t favored to win a national title during this week’s NCAA Championships event in Athens, Ga.

But that’s not stopping Emily Tubert and the rest of her teammates from aiming high as play gets underway during the first round this morning.

“It's about going out to win a national championship,” Tubert said about Arkansas’ ambitions for the week. “I think we have a team that has all the talent in the world.  Our best is good enough and we know it. We all haven't fired at the same time all year. So our new motto is ‘Peak in a week.’”

Arkansas qualified for the NCAA Championships after finishing in a third-place tie at the NCAA East Regional earlier this month. It was the program’s best finish in an NCAA Regional. The Razorbacks now will compete against 23 other teams this week, including six other SEC schools (Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State, Florida, Vanderbilt and South Carolina) at the University of Georgia course in Athens.

Arkansas will tee off at 11 a.m. along with Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.

“It definitely is a feat to get through regionals no matter how good you are or where you are ranked,” Arkansas coach Shauna Estes-Taylor said. “You have to take care of business and this group did a fantastic job of that at Auburn. I think we felt comfortable that would happen but still you have to take care of business.”

Arkansas is making its sixth appearance at the NCAA Championships event and third straight trip under Estes-Taylor. The Razorbacks have had three top 10 finishes in school history, including a tie for fifth place in 2011.

Tubert leads the playing five for the Razorbacks at the 72-hole NCAA Championships this week. Tubert, senior Victoria Vela and junior Emma Lavy will be playing in the NCAA Championships for the third time in their careers. Freshmen Regina Plasencia and Gabriela Lopez also have played on the course.

So Estes-Taylor said her team is comfortable on the course and believes the Razorbacks are ready to peak during the biggest week of the season.

“We know the golf course and have a game plan in place,” Estes-Taylor said. “I took the two freshmen over in February to give them a sneak peek. So they got two rounds under their belt. This group knows exactly what we need to do and have spent all year getting prepared for our trip to Athens.”

— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau