After participating in Wednesday's practice round, the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi women's golf team makes history Thursday when the first round starts at the NCAA West Regional in Tempe, Ariz. at the Arizona State Karsten Golf Course when it becomes first team in the golf program's to play in a regional. The course is a Par-72, 6,230-yard course.
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The Islanders will begin their quest towards a spot in the NCAA Championship to be played in two weeks in Owings Mills, Md. just after noon Mountain time. Melissa Fahey will tee off first for the Islanders at 12:20. Her teammates will follow in 10-minute increments starting with Ryann White, followed by Ashley Olynick and Courtney Peeler. Ashley Watkins, A&M-Corpus Christi's lone All-Southland selection, will be the final player for the Islanders, who will be paired with the teams from Oral Roberts and Northern Arizona.
"We are very excited about the opportunity to represent the University," said Islander head coach Carol Blackmar, who was the Coach of the Year in the Southland Conference. "It is the first time that the team has played in a tournament with teams of this caliber. It will be a challenge, but we were played our best golf of the season at the conference tournament and hopefully we can continue that trend."
Twenty-one teams are in the region field. Included in the field are host Arizona State, and Southern Cal. The three team's are ranked first and third in the Golfweek/Saragin Performance Index USC won the region crown a season ago. Five other teams in the region are ranked in the top 25 LSU (9th), Pepperdine (13th), Arkansas (16th), San Hose State (17th) and Arizona (21st).
The Islanders advanced to the NCAA Regionals for the first time in dramatic fashion overcoming a two-shot deficit on the final hole to win their first Southland Conference title. Courtney Peelers birdie on the 18th in final threesome capped a stretch over the final three holes where the team combined to shoot under-par.
"The key for ourselves at the conference tournament was keeping our composure no matter what happened," said Blackmar. "The mental aspect will again be a key for us. We have to stay positive and play within ourselves."
The tournament continues through Saturday with 18 holes each day.