Overview: After recording one of the best seasons in program history in 2010-11, the University of Minnesota women's golf team earned an berth to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001. The Gophers were given the 14th seed for this weekend’s 24-team NCAA Central Regional at Warren Golf Course in South Bend, Ind. and will look to advance to the national championship round. The Gophers have been apart of five other NCAA Tournaments, with the best finish coming at the 1989 NCAA Championships. That squad finished in 12th place.
Hosted by Notre Dame, the event will be played from Thurs. May 5 to Sat. May 7, with eight teams moving on to the final stage of collegiate golf's premier tournament. The three-day, 54-hole event will feature 18 holes of play each day. Action will begin each round at 7:00 a.m. (CT) with schools starting on either the first or 10th holes. Live scoring will available throughout the tournament at www.golfstat.com.
Course: Designed by Bill Core and two-time Master's champion Ben Crenshaw, the Warren Golf Course is a par 72, 6,208 yard venue located on the campus of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. The course has a history of playing host a variety of prestigious golf events, including the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship and Big East Championship along with two previous NCAA Regional events. The course previously hosted the 2005 and 2010 NCAA Men’s Central Regional.
The Field: The 24-team field is comprised of schools from across the country, comprised of seven automatic bids from conference champions and 17 at-large selections.
In order of seed, the Central Regional will include UCLA, Duke, LSU, Arkansas, Wake Forest, Texas, Tulane, Stanford, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Kent State, Chattanooga, Northwestern, Minnesota, UNLV, Oklahoma State, North Texas, Wisconsin, East Carolina, Michigan, Illinois, Morehead State, Illinois State, and Butler. Out of the 11 teams in the conference, eight Big Ten schools earned NCAA invitations, with six competing in the Central Regional. The NCAA Tournament is broken into the three separate regions (East, Central, West), with eight teams and two individuals advancing from each sectional.
The Gophers: Minnesota's lineup will feature four seniors, Teresa Puga, Mary Narzisi, Samantha Sommers, and Michele Edlin and one freshman, Banchalee Theingthong. The group is one of the most accomplished in program history and will be one of the most experienced team’s in the event.
Puga's career scoring average of 75.62 is the best in program history. A native of Spain, she earned six top-20 finishes during the spring season, highlighted by co-medalist honors at the UCF Challenge in February.
Narzisi is coming off a team-best 14th place finish at the Big Ten Championships and her 78.12 career average is currently the third lowest in school history.
Sommers earned a ninth place finish at the Pinehurst Challenge in early April and is fifth all-time with a scoring average of 78.23 in her four years.
Edlin has carded three top-20 finishes this season and her four-year average of 78.88 ranks 10th all-time.
A freshman from Thailand, Theingthong has earned two top-20 finishes this season while playing in eight of the team's 10 tournaments.
Up Next: The Gophers will need to finish as one of the top eight teams out of 24 schools in order to advance to the NCAA Championship. Hosted by Texas A&M, the championship will be held from May 18-21 at the Traditions Club in Bryan, Texas.
Follow the links above to watch the women's golf team in the Gopher Sports Spotlight and read more about the four seniors in today's Star Tribune.