Oct. 2, 2011
GOLF, Ill. Armed with a No. 11 national ranking by Golfstat, its highest ever, the UC Davis women's golf team looks to keep its strong early season play going when the Aggies participate in the Windy City Collegiate Championship, hosted by Northwestern, on Monday and Tuesday.
The 15-team tournament will begin with 36 holes on Monday beginning at 5:30 a.m. (PDT) with the final 18 holes scheduled for Tuesday morning. The Aggies will keep the same quintet it used when it finished second at the Golfweek Conference Challenge two weeks ago, utilizing Demi Runas, Amy Simanton, Jessica Chulya, Beverly Vatananugulkit and Blair Lewis.
The tournament will be played at the par-72, 6,333-yard course at Glen View Club.
The event will be the strongest of the season so far for UC Davis with 11 teams ranked in the top 50 by Golfstat including No. 1 Texas, No. 4. Oklahoma State, No. 12 Texas Tech and No. 20 Northwestern. Also playing are No. 28 TCU, No. 31 Iowa State, No. 32 Tulsa, No. 37 New Mexico, No. 45 Ohio State and No. 47 Arizona.
Purdue, unranked by Golfstat yet this season, is another powerhouse program that will compete. The Boilermakers won the 2010 NCAA Championship and were runner-up last season.
UC Davis is currently ranked 11th by Golfstat, its highest position in the poll since rising to 14th last year when it reached the top 20 for the first time in its brief history as a Div. I program. The Aggies began the 2011-12 season with a victory at the Ptarmigan Ram Fall Classic at Colorado State and then were one of several teams to hold the lead on the final day of the Golfweek Conference Challenge in Vail, Colo., before finishing as runner-up.
UC Davis is off to its hot start despite having no seniors on the team and featuring a pair of true freshmen.
"I'm really pleased with how the (freshmen) are playing," said fourth-year head coach Anne Walker. "I think they've got a lot to learn which is wonderful. I look at their games and there is so much room for improvement. They have huge upsides.
"I do believe the leadership we're getting right now from Demi and Amy is unbelievable... I think that's going to help us through the season."
Runas, the Big West Golfer of the Month for September, is averaging 72.5 strokes per round while Simanton is at 74.3. Vatananugulkit is averaging 74.3. As a team, the Aggies are averaging 296.2 strokes.