CEDAR CITY, Utah, April 2 – Southern Utah’s women’s golf team plays its final tune-up event before the Big Sky championships when the Thunderbirds compete at Wyoming’s Cowgirl Invitational next week.

The 19-team tournament will be held Monday through Wednesday at the par 72, 6,299-yard Ocotillo Golf Resort in Chandler, Ariz., with 18 holes per day, begining with tee times at 6:30 a.m.

The Big Sky championships will also be held at Ocotillo, April 21-23.

The Thunderbird lineup will include senior Sadie Palmer, junior Kaohi Loo, sophomore Monica Jung and freshman Nicole Thomas, with the fifth player to be determined from a group including freshman Rynae Baca, junior Rose Pelletier and senior Jamie Millard.

In addition to the Thunderbirds, teams entered in the Cowgirl Classic include Boise State, BYU, Colorado State, Eastern Washington, Montana, Montana State, New Mexico State, Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado, Portland State, Sacramento State, Santa Clara, Seattle, Utah Valley, UTEP, Weber State, Xavier and host Wyoming.

Last Year At the Cowgirl Classic: SUU finished  in 10th place, tied with Nevada at 51 over par 915. Monica Jung led the Thunderbirds with a 15th-place finish at 8-over par 224, while teammate Brittany Edwards shot 226 to finish 23rd.  Rounding out SUU’s entry Kaohi Loo finished 39th (229), Jamie Coking Millard was 71st (236) and Kacy Buckner shot 250 to finish in 112th place. Iowa claimed the team championship at 884, six strokes better than second place Colorado State. 

The Coach: Richard Church (Utah ‘89) is in his 13th season as head golf coach and his 18th on the staff at Southern Utah. Prior to taking over the program from former Coach John Evans, Church spent four seasons as the Thunderbirds’ assistant coach. During his tenure on the SUU staff, Church has coached five academic all-Americans, one Mid-Continent Conference medalist, two Mid-Con runner-ups and the University’s only two NCAA post-season competitors in golf.

Last Time Out: SUU bounced back from a slow start but finished 13th at the 15-team BYU at Entrada Classic. After an opening-round 325 the Thunderbirds found themselves in 14th place, and although they shaved seven strokes off that score in the second round and another eight in the third they still wound up with a disappointing 13th place finish at 89 over par 953. Junior Kaohi Loo led the way for the second straight tournament with a 40th place finish at 24-over par 236, while senior Sadie Palmer and sophomore Monica Jung tied for 50th at 239. Freshman Rynae Baca finished fourth among Thunderbirds in 65th place at 246 while fellow frosh Nicole Thomas shot 248 for 67th place. SUU’s Jamie Millard finished 72nd at 252 playing as an individual. Wisconsin was the wire-to-wire winner of the tournament. The Badgers, led by individual champion Kimberly Dinh ,who shot 216, and runner-up Kris Yoo, who carded a 217, finished at 24-over par 888, six strokes better than second-place Minnesota.