CEDAR CITY, Utah, Feb. 25 - Southern Utah's women's golf team plays the second event of its 2013 spring season this weekend when the Thunderbirds travel to Sedona, Ariz. to compete at Northern Arizona's Red Rocks Invitational. It is SUU's second tournament of the spring being played in Arizona as well as being hosted by NAU.
The 36-hole tournament will be contested Saturday and Sunday at the par 72, 6,089-yard Oakcreek Country Club, a Robert Trent Jones, Sr., and Robert Trent Jones, Jr., course.
This week the Thunderbird lineup will include senior Sadie Palmer and junior Kaohi Loo, sophomore Monica Jung and freshmen Nicole Thomas with the fifth player to be determined from a group including freshman Rynae Baca, junior Rose Pelletier and Jamie Millard. The two who do not make the team roster will compete as individuals.
In addition to the Thunderbirds, teams entered in the tournament include British Columbia, Cal Poly, CSU Bakersfield, CSU Northridge, Eastern Michigan, Eastern Washington, Grand Canyon, Idaho State, Montana State, North Dakota, Northern Kentucky, North Dakota, Oakland, Seattle, South Dakota, Toledo, UC Riverside, Utah Valley, Xavier, Weber State, Western Michigan and host NAU.
Last Year At Red Rocks: SUU placed 11th at the 20-team tourney after shooting 323 for a two-day total of 648. Monica Jung led the way for the Thunderbirds in 21st place after bouncing back from an opening-round 82 with a 74 on Sunday to finish at 12-over par 156, nine shots off the pace of Seattle's Caitlin McCleary. Kacy Buckner finished second among Thunderbirds at 161 after a second-round 83, while Kaohi Loo was 58th at 165, Rose Pelletier was 76th at 169 and Jamie Millard finished 86th at 172. SUU's Shantelle Spackman, competing as an individual, was 71st at 168. Eastern Michigan ran away with the team championship by finishing at 603, 14 shots ahead of second-place Seattle.
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 for the fourth time this season to lead SUU to a fifth place finish at The Lumberjack at Ocotillo, hosted by Northern Arizona. Palmer was all alone in second place, one shot off the pace of McNeese State's Kelsey Haynie after Tuesday's second round at the par 72, 6,302-yard Ocotillo Golf Resort, then shot 76 on Wednesday while Haynie carded a 77, creating a tie between the two second-day leaders. Weber State's Kelsey Chugg dashed Palmer's hopes, however, firing the best round of the tournament, a 70, to move all the way from seventh to the top of the leaderboard with a 225, two shots better than Palmer, Haynie and McNeese's Lina Lagergren, who shot 74 on Wednesday to make it a three-way tie for second. Monica Jung finished second among Thunderbirds in 16th place at 238, while Kaohi Loo was 29th at 247, Nicole Thomas was 37th at 251 and Rynae Baca finished 48th at 260. SUU's Rose Pelletier and Jamie Millard were competing as individuals, with Pelletier coming in 41st at 253 and Millard 49th at 261. Despite Palmer's efforts, the Thunderbirds slipped one spot to fifth after coming in at 318 on Wednesday, which allowed British Columbia to move past SUU after UBC shot 309 for a three-round total of 955, five shots better than the Thunderbirds' 960. McNeese State won the tournament going away, shooting 914 to finish 27 strokes ahead of second-place Northern Arizona (941). Weber State finished third at 949. Rounding out the team finishes Montana State was sixth at 972, followed by Northern Colorado (978), Eastern Washington (985), Utah Valley (995), North Dakota (1,065) and Idaho State (1,100).