April 20, 2013
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Three-time defending champion UC Davis looks to keep its title for another year when it opens play on Sunday morning at the Big West Conference Women's Golf Championship at San Luis Obispo Country Club.
The No. 16-ranked Aggies are top-seeded in the 54-hole tournament which will feature 18 holes each day from Sunday through Tuesday. UC Davis, whose team will be comprised of veterans Demi Runas, Amy Simanton and defending medalist Beverly Vatananugulkit, along with freshmen Betty Chen and Andrea Wong, will begin teeing off at 7:30 a.m. and will play with UC Irvine in the first round.
The Aggies have been dominant in their three-year title run, winning by an average of 16.7 strokes each season. They'll be looking to hold off UC Irvine, which was second last year, and third-place Cal State Fullerton. Both teams return four golfers off last year's teams.
Runas, who tied for fourth last year, enters the tournament ranked 20th by Golfstat and currently leads the team with a 72.4 stroke average. She is also the two-time defending Big West Player of the Year. Simanton, who tied for first-place at the Big West Championship as a sophomore before falling in a playoff to teammate Chelsea Stelzmiller, is another leader for the Aggies. She's averaging 74.6 strokes.
Vatananugulkit (74.2) made the most of her first appearance last season, going just 1 over on her final 36 holes to edge Simanton by two strokes for medalist honors at 4 over. Chen (76.3) and Wong (74.6) will be making their first appearances after enjoying strong freshman seasons for UC Davis.
Eight teams will be competing at the par-73, 6,196-yard course in San Luis Obispo. Monday's play begins at 9 a.m. while the final round will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday. The tournament winner receives an automatic berth into the NCAA