CEDAR CITY, Utah, Feb. 5 - Southern Utah's women's golf team opens its 2013 spring season next week when it competes at The Lumberjack, hosted by Northern Arizona at Ocotillo Golf Resort in Chandler, Ariz. Southern Utah will compete on the par 72, 6,302-yard course three times this fall, including at Wyoming's Cowgirl Invitational and at the Big Sky championships in April.

The three-day tournament will feature 18 holes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

This week the Thunderbird lineup will include seniors Sadie Palmer and junior Kaohi Loo, sophomore Monica Jung and freshmen Nicole Thomas and Rynae Baca, while senior Jamie Millard and junior Rose Pelletier and will compete as individuals.

Teams expected to compete at the tournament include eight Big Sky teams: SUU, Weber State, Idaho State, Montana State, Northern Colorado, Eastern Washington, North Dakota and host Northern Arizona. rounding out the 11-team field are Utah Valley, British Columbia and McNeese State.

This is SUU's first appearance at The Lumberjack.

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:
Sadie Palmer finished second and the Thunderbirds had three players in the top 20 as SUU's women's golf team moved up two spots in the final round to finish second at Cal Poly's 17-team Lamkin Grip Invitational. The tournament was held at the par 73, 6,040-yard Cypress Ridge Golf Club. Palmer had rounds of 74-73 to finish in a three-way tie for second with Santa Clara's Balbina Guajardo and Sonoma State's Spencer Heller at one-over par 147, one shot back of Northern Arizona's Savana Bezdicek. Palmer, who moved up from ninth place after Monday's round, was joined in the top-20 by teammates Monica Jung, who jumped all the way from 26th to 15th after a second-round 74 put her at 152, and Kaohi Loo, who finished 19th (right where she began the day) at 154 (74-78). Nicole Thomas finished 30th after rounds of 80 and 79 left her at 159 and Rose Pelletier shot 91-83 to finish 80th.  The Thunderbirds also had three players competing as individuals, with Rynae Baca 63rd at 167 (87-80), Jamie Millard 88th at 179 (87-92) and Brittany Edwards 98th at 186 (99-87). As a team the Thunderbirds followed Monday's opening-round 308 with a 304 on Tuesday, good enough to move past Cal State San Marcos, UC Riverside and Northern Arizona, but Gonzaga, which opened with a 312, fired a 297 on Tuesday to jump up six spots and claim the team championship at 609, three shots better than the T-Birds.