Kansas Women’s Golf Opens Spring Season in Gainesville
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas women’s golf team will travel to Gainesville, Florida to compete in the SunTrust Gator Women’s Golf Invitational, its first tournament of the 2016 spring season. The 6,002-yard, par-70 Mark Bostick Golf Course will serve as a proving ground for the Jayhawks, as they face a 13-team field that includes three ranked foes in Golfstat’s top-25.
“I think they’re excited to go compete against some good teams and see how we do,” Kansas 12-year head coach Erin O’Neil said.
Kansas will feature a lineup consisting of senior Yupaporn “Mook” Kawinpakorn, junior Pornvipa “Faii” Sakdee, freshmen Ariadna Fonseca Diaz and Laine Evans and sophomore Pitsinee “Lizzie” Winyarat.
Kawinpakorn is coming off a historic fall season for Kansas that included three-consecutive individual titles at the Schooner Classic, Chip-N Club Invitational and Palmetto Intercollegiate. She shot a program-best 71.21 strokes per round in the fall and is on pace to blow away the program record of 73.57 for a full season, which she set in 2014-15. Additionally, last fall Kawinpakorn achieved school records for career top-10 finishes (24), career top-5 finishes (14) and lowest 18-hole score (63).
Sakdee will be making her first appearance for Kansas this year. She averaged 74.90 strokes per round in 2014-15, which ranked third lowest in program history. The junior will instantly bring a veteran presence to the young Kansas squad comprised of three sophomores and four freshmen.
“It’s great to have her (Sakdee) back in the mix. She is excited to compete again. She is a very competitive person, I think she’s missed it,” O’Neil said. “Her game looks great and she’s hit the ball well and her short game is improving.”
Fonseca Diaz had one of the strongest fall seasons by a freshman in program history. She was the first freshman to compete in all fall events and count 100 percent of her rounds toward the team score since Emily Powers in 2006. Her stroke average of 74.79 is on pace to be third best in program history, regardless of class.
Evans also had a strong fall, recording the third-lowest stroke average on the team with 76.79. Like Fonseca Diaz, Evans also saw a lot of time on the golf course for a freshman, competing in all fall events (one as an individual) and had all but one of her team rounds count.
“I think Laine could be someone to watch. She has a good perspective on the competition and playing and she really wants to be the best she can be,” O’Neil said. “She’s been working hard.”
Winyarat will look to continue her process of improvement, shaving two strokes off of her freshman stroke average in the fall. Her career-best 18-hole score of 72 came in the first spring event for Kansas last season, at the Kansas-Tulsa Dual.
Kawinpakorn will be carrying the Folds of Honor golf bag for the Jayhawks. The golf bag will be auctioned off at the end of the season and all proceeds will benefit the Katzenberger family of Parkville, Missouri.
The SunTrust Gator Women’s Invitational will play two rounds March 5 and the final round on March6. The first 36 holes will start with a shotgun start at 8:00 a.m. (Eastern) and the last 18 holes will begin the following day with a shotgun start at 8:15 a.m. Live stats can be found at Golfstat.com. Joining Kansas in the 13-team field is Florida International, host Florida (9), Florida State (22), Kent State (11), NC State (33), Ohio State (44), Ole Miss, Oregon (27), SMU (41), Central Florida, South Florida and UTSA.