Kansas Women's Golf Heads To Big 12 Championship

April 22, 2008

<?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>LAWRENCE, Kan. — Looking to improve on last year’s ninth-place finish, the Kansas women’s golf team will compete at the Big 12 Championship at Stillwater, Okla., Friday through Sunday. The 54-hole tournament will take place at OklahomaState’s Karsten Creek golf course.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

Kansas will be paired with KansasState and Texas A&M for Friday’s first round with tee times beginning at 9 a.m. The Jayhawks’ lineup will feature senior Annie Giangrosso, sophomore Emily Powers and freshmen Meghna Bal, Grace Thiry and Sydney Wilson.

“We are going to try to stay positive and focused, as attitude will be very important for our success,” said KU head coach Erin O’Neil. “The golf course is very challenging mentally to say the least. We need to take it one shot at a time, not to sound cliché, but that is really what we will need to do.”

Last year Kansas placed ninth out of 12 teams in the conference tournament. Former Jayhawk Amanda Costner claimed medalist honors shooting a five-over par 221 to win by three strokes.

Current Jayhawks who competed in last year’s event include Giangrosso, who tied for 32nd at 239, Powers, who tied for 42nd at 241, and Meghan Gockel, who finished 55th at 249. Camilla Svensson was KU’s other finisher as she tied for 50th at 245.

Texas A&M won the team title in 2007 with a score of 911, while OklahomaState (916) and Baylor (918) rounded out the top three. KU shot 945 with a team-best 312 in the opening round.

This season, the Jayhawks have been paced by Powers, who owns a team-best 74.77 scoring average while playing in all 10 events. The sophomore has been KU’s top individual finisher seven times and the second-best finisher three other times.

Powers has posted eight top-15 finishes in 10 events, including a tie for second at the Kitahara Invitational early in the spring. Most recently she tied for seventh at the Mountain View Collegiate and tied for 14th at the Susie Maxell Berning Classic.

Three Jayhawks own nearly identical 77 strokes per round averages in Thiry (77.11), Bal (77.25) and Giangrosso (77.37).

Bal has consistently been the Jayhawks’ second-best finisher this year, placing second among KU golfers in five of 10 tournaments, including three of the last four and five of the last seven. Bal most recently tied for 17th at the Susie Maxwell Berning Classic, closing with a season-best tying 71.

Thiry has been KU’s top finisher in two of five spring events, pacing the Jayhawks at the Qdoba Invitational (tied for seventh overall) and the Betsy Rawls (tied for 24th overall).

Giangrosso, the team’s top returning finisher from last year’s league championship, will be playing in her fourth Big 12 Championship. Last year she tied for 32nd after a tie for 46th as a sophomore and a 54th place finish as a freshman.

Wilson, a redshirt freshman, rounds out KU’s fivesome. She made the travel roster after playing in three events in the fall and seeing action as an individual twice this spring. Wilson owns an 80.07 scoring average.

As a team, Kansas is coming off one of its best performances of the season as it finished third out of 16 teams at the Susie Maxwell Berning Classic in Norman, Okla., April 6-8. KU closed the event with a final round 294, the best third-round score of any team and the fourth-best round of the entire tournament.

Bal shot a 71, while Powers shot 73, Thiry added a 74 and Svensson added a 76.

KU’s best ever finish at the Big 12 Championship was seventh in the first event in 1997. The Jayhawks were eighth in 2004 and ninth in 1998, 2005 and 2007.

Live scoring of the tournament will be provided at www.golfstat.com. Complete results will be posted at www.kuathletics at the conclusion of each day.