ISLANDER GOLF TEAM SET TO DEFEND SOUTHLAND TITLE

The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi women's golf team heads to Raven's Nest Golf Club in Huntsville this week for the 2010 Southland Conference Women's Golf Tournament. The tournament begins on Monday and runs through Wednesday.

Last season, the Islanders claimed their first title as they edged UTSA on the final hole by one stroke. They return two players from the five who claimed the title a season ago

Courtney Peeler leads A&M-Corpus Christi after placing sixth a season ago. She has five finishes in the top 20 this season including two top 10s. Peeler leads the team a 77.33 stroke average. She finished the spring strong placing seventh at the UALR Women's Golf Classic where she fired a 71-77-74. The 71 was her best round of the season. Peeler followed her second top-10 finish of the season up with a 15th-place showing at Baylor where she carded a 79-75-78.

Ryann White was second on the Islanders with an 18-hole average of 77.89 and is the second returnee. She finished the spring with back-to-back 77s at Baylor finishing 23rd at the event She had a season-best 71.Her best finish of the season came in the fall at the Elkins Lake Invitational at the Rivercut Golf Course in Huntsville where she was tenth. In the tournament that was limited to two rounds, White carded a 152.

Playing in their first SLC Championship will be sophomore Chelsey Watkins and first-year players Cecilia Jeon and Katie Belser.

In her second season, Watkins had a personal-best round of 74 in the first tournament of the spring at the Koasati Pines Collegiate Classic She also had a 78 as well finishing at 250 for three rounds.

Jeon is the lone freshman this season and finished with an 82.79 average score. She led the Islanders at the MSU/Payne Stewart Memorial where was 17th. Jeon had rounds of 76-79-77 for a 232.

Belser joined the team this spring to add depth. The junior appeared in three tournaments beginning with the Stripes Islander Classic. She had a career-best 77 at UALR and posted the third-best 18-hole score.

Entering the tournament, UTSA is the favorite to win as the highest-rated Southland Conference team in the country. Led by freshman Paola Valerio, who was the SLC golfer of the month for April, UTSA has five players with top 20 finishes.

Texas State, which won the 2008 title, is led by junior Caitlin Bliss. Bliss has the best average for 18 holes in the league at 75.66. The Bobcats also return Gabby De Reuck, who was the Southland Freshman of the Year.

McNeese State returns Lacy McKinley, who is the top returning finisher from a season ago. Sam Houston State will attempt to become the first SLC team to win a conference tournament it hosts.

Live stats will be available at www.southland.org