April 3, 2014
TEMPE, Ariz. - This weekend will provide the most difficult test of the regular season for the No. 39 UC Davis women's golf team, which travels to the PING/ASU Invitational to face a field that has seven top-10 ranked teams.
The 15-team tournament begins on Friday at 8 a.m. and continues with 18 holes on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. Arizona State's own Karsten Golf Course will be site of the event and measures 6,223 yards. It'll play to a par-72.
The PING/ASU Invitational is one of the premier events in collegiate women's golf each year due to the quality of the field competing. This year is no different with not only seven top-10 teams ready for action but 12 teams in Golfstat's top 50 comprising a majority of the field.
Second-ranked UCLA headlines the schools entered this weekend and will be joined by No. 3 Duke, No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 6 Arizona State, No. 7 South Carolina, No. 8 Stanford and No. 9 Arizona from the top 10. Washington, ranked 11th, No. 12 Vanderbilt, No. 30 Oregon, No. 34 Cal and the No. 39 Aggies are the other highly ranked schools that will be in Tempe, Ariz. Texas, ranked 53rd, No. 73 Oregon State and No. 77 Washington State round out the field.
This is the third consecutive season that UC Davis will be in the prestigious event. It finished 10th last season and tied for fifth in 2012, the same year that former standout Demi Runas tied for medalist honors.
The Aggies will send a quintet comprised of Betty Chen, who's coming off a second-place finish at the Anuenue Spring Break Classic in Hawaii last week, along with Paige Lee, Beverly Vatananugulkit, Andrea Wong and Jessica Chulya.
UC Davis is enjoying a strong spring season, racking up two runner-up team finishes at Stanford's Peg Barnard Invitational and at San Jose State's Juli Inkster Spartan Invitational. The Aggies were third in Hawaii and earlier were sixth at the UC Irvine Invitational. For the season, they've finished in the top five in six of their 11 tournaments.
Chen has helped lead the way for UC Davis, averaging 73.2 strokes while posting 13 rounds at par or better among the 29 she's played. Besides her first-place finish at Indiana in the fall, she has two other top-five placings and five times has been in the top 10.
Lee, a freshman from Elk Grove, has immediately made an impact with the program and is currently second on the team with a 74.8 average. She's been in the top 10 four times and in the top five twice. Lee's been very consistent of late, posting a fifth-place showing at San Jose State and following with a sixth-place performance at the Anuenue Spring Break Classic.
Wong, who's averaging 75.9 strokes, has a pair of top-10 placings in the spring, Vatananugulkit (75.5) tied for 15th at Stanford in February, and senior Jessica Chulya (76.7) has a two top-20 finishes this season.
UC Davis will open the first round with the first tee times at 8 a.m. It'll play with Cal and Oregon.
Alabama captured last year's tournament while the Crimson Tide's Emma Talley was medalist. The host Sun Devils have won the tournament 19 times.