This weekend’s PING/ASU Invitational is the final tournament for No. 25 Texas before it heads to the 2011 Big 12 Championship set for April 22-24. It is the team’s last opportunity to make any final changes in preparation for the conference tournament.
The Longhorns will compete on a par-72, 6,230-yard golf course in Tempe, Ariz. this weekend against a stacked 17-team field that includes top-ranked USC, No. 2 UCLA, No. 8 Arizona, No. 9 California, No. 20 Pepperdine, No. 21 Vanderbilt, No. 23 Stanford and of course, No. 11 Arizona State, which is hosting the tournament at its home course on the banks of Sky Harbor.
The Longhorns’ lineup starts with junior Nicole Vandermade in the first position. She led the Longhorns on the individual leader board last time out at the Battle at Rancho Bernardo with a finish of seven over par, good enough to tie for 13th place. Next in the lineup is freshman Rebecca Lee-Bentham in the second spot — she started in the first spot last time after the team’s best performance of the season, when she tied for fourth place at the Bruin Wave Invitational. But Lee-Bentham shot an 11-over to finish 25th in San Diego.
Sophomore Haley Stephens sits in the third spot, and junior Megan Rosenfeld and sophomore Madison Pressel complete the four and five positions, respectively, for Texas.
The team has had some success in the past on Arizona State’s golf course. Last season the Longhorns carded a three-over in the final round of the invitational. Even Texas head coach Martha Richards has had some individual success on this course, when she golfed for Stanford — she was an individual medalist at the 1993 PING/ASU Invitational.
The last tournament for the Longhorns ended in a tie for eighth place with a 17-over at the Battle of Rancho Bernardo. This weekend in the rough sands of central Arizona, the Longhorns look to fine-tune their game in preparation for the Big 12 tournament. Tee times in Tempte are 10 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, then 9:30 a.m. on Sunday.