Women's Golf Looks for Strong Fall Finish in Texas
Oct. 28, 2011
Grace Na won the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown, the Pepperdine women's golf team gets back on the links for the final event of its fall season, the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational.
EVENT INFO -- The tournament will be held at the par-72, 6,344-yard University of Texas Golf Club in Austin, Texas. Teams will play a single round each day between Monday and Wednesday (Oct. 31-Nov. 2). Live scoring will be provided at www.golfstat.com. This is the 38th edition of the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational, but it's the first time that the Waves have taken part.
FIELD -- In addition to Pepperdine, the 15-team field consists of Arizona, Arkansas, Denver, Florida, Iowa, Kent State, Mississippi State, New Mexico, Oklahoma State, Princeton, Texas, Tulsa, UNLV and Wisconsin.
RANKINGS -- The team's second-place showing at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown isn't yet taken into account, but Pepperdine was most recently #41 by Golfweek/Sagarin and #43 by Golfstat, and is receiving votes in the Golf World/NGCA poll. Individually, Grace Na is #59 by Golfweek/Sagarin and #62 by Golfstat.
PEPPERDINE LINEUP -- The lineup for the tournament consists of senior Kaitlin Drolson (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif./Torrey Pines HS), sophomores Liv Cheng (Auckland, New Zealand/Macleans College) and Grace Na (Alameda, Calif./Alameda HS) and freshmen Alina Ching (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) and Somin Lee (Denver, Colo./Overland HS).
2011-12 STATISTICS -- Grace Na, who has been the top-scoring (or tied for top-scoring) Wave at all three tournaments thus far, leads the team with a 72.56 scoring average through nine rounds. The rest of the team heading to Texas: Drolson (75.00, nine rounds), Ching (75.33, six), Cheng (76.22, nine) and Lee (77.44 nine).
NA -- Grace Na, a preseason Golfweek All-American third teamer, is off to a great start to her sophomore year. She won the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown (where she tied an NCAA record with a 9-under 63 in the first round) and had a tie for second place at the Golfweek Conference Challenge. This follows a tremendous 2010-11 school year. She won the CIF state championship in late 2010 for Alameda High School, then graduated early in order to enroll at Pepperdine in January 2011. During the spring season, she was the medalist at the WCC Championships and was named both WCC Player and Freshman of the Year as well as a Golfweek All-American honorable mention selection. Nine of her 10 career starts have resulted in a top-20 finish.
ROSTER -- The Waves have a very young team in 2011-12. Only senior Kaitlin Drolson, a three-time All-WCC first teamer, has seen more than one full year of college golf. The remainder of the roster is filled out by three sophomores and two freshmen. But, the last time the Waves had a comparable level of collegiate experience, they finished ninth at the 2009 NCAA Championships.
PEPPERDINE GOLF HISTORY -- Under the direction of Laurie Gibbs, who is now in her 19th season as head coach, the last decade-plus has established Pepperdine as one of the nation's top golf programs. The Waves have appeared in the NCAA Championships 10 times in 13 years, with eight top 10 finishes and four top five showings, including a program-best second-place result in 2003. The Waves have won West Coast Conference championships in 13 of the last 14 years, including a current streak of 10 titles that began in 2002. Eleven different players have earned All-American honors a total of 22 times. LPGA Tour players have included Katherine Hull, Lindsey Wright, Tamie Durdin, Nadina (Taylor) Light, Misun Cho and Carolina Llano. Danielle Kang won back-to-back U.S. Amateur Championships in 2010 and 2011. Gibbs has been honored 10 times as the WCC's Coach of the Year, was tabbed the West Region Coach of the Year on two occasions and was selected the 2004-05 National Coach of the Year by Golfweek magazine.
ABOUT PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY -- Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won NCAA Division I championships in five different men's sports - one of just 16 schools to have accomplished this feat - and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest enrollment and is the only school not in a major conference. Located in scenic Malibu, Calif., the university overlooks the Pacific Ocean and its campus and athletic facilities are regularly voted among the nation's most beautiful. Pepperdine, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, ranks #55 overall on U.S. News and World Report's list of America's best colleges. The 2011-12 school year marks Pepperdine's 75th anniversary.