Kansas Women’s Golf Chases History Heading to the Big 12 Championship
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas women’s golf team will travel to Austin, Texas, to compete in the 2014 Big 12 Championship at the University of Texas Golf Club on April 25-27.
“Our conference is very competitive,” Kansas head coach Erin O’Neil said. “The University of Texas Golf Course is a good golf course for us. Playing at Ohio State last week was good preparation for this. They have played nationals on that course before and it was a pretty good challenge. It showed us what our strengths were and what we needed to work on. If we go into this coming week mentally tough and playing our game I think we will be in good shape at the end of it.”
Kansas enters the 2014 Big 12 Championship ranked 42nd, according to Golfstat, and will participate as the fifth seed in the nine-team field. The Jayhawks will be paired with No. 4 Baylor and host No. 6 Texas in Friday’s first day of 18 holes. Oklahoma is the No. 1 seed, followed by Oklahoma State and Iowa State. TCU is the No. 7 seed with Texas Tech No. 8 and Kansas State No. 9.
“It’s a different position that what we are used to,” O’Neil said. “I think it’s a good one to be in. Normally when we go into this event we feel we have to do something off the charts to get to (NCAA) regionals. This year we feel comfortable in the spot that we are in.”
The KU team has put itself in a position where a solid Big 12 Championship performance could place them in an NCAA Regional. The invitation to the NCAA event would be the Jayhawks first ever NCAA Regional appearance and their first appearance as a team in the post-season season 1990. NCAA Regional selections will be Monday, April 28.
The Jayhawk’s will be looking to their usual faces this weekend as O’Neil is continuing with the lineup she has had much success with this year. The Jayhawk five consists of freshman Pornvipa “Faii” Sakdee, sophomore Yupaporn “Mook” Kawinpakorn, junior Minami Levonowich and seniors Thanuttra “Fhong” Boonraksasat and Meghan Potee.
Faii has made an appearance in every tournament during her freshman campaign as is currently averaging 76.31 strokes per round, which is third lowest on the team. Faii has also recorded four top-20 finishes this year with her best finish being a tie for fourth at the Palmetto Intercollegiate, Oct. 27-28, in where she carded a tournament total of 217 (+1).
Mook has been the most efficient player on the team as 24 of her 26 rounds played have counted toward her team’s final score. This was done behind her team-low 74.83 strokes per round which is currently the lowest average by any Jayhawk in history. A 2014 Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection, Mook also leads the team in top-20 finishes as she has placed in the top-20 in nine of her 10 events played.
Levonowich is averaging 77.66 strokes per round in her first full season with the Jayhawks and has done so with four top-20 finishes. Her best performance came at the Diane Thomason Invitational last October where she finished in a tie for seventh after shooting an 11-over par 227.
Fhong will be competing in her 45th tournament as a Jayhawk, and during her time here she has moved her way up the leaderboard in a few categories. Fhong currently sits in a tie for second with Emily Powers (2007-10), with the second most top-10 finishes with 13, and sits alone in a tie for second for most top-five finishes with eight. Fhong is currently having her best season as a Jayhawk as she is averaging 75.55 strokes per round behind seven top-20 finishes this season.
Potee is the lone Jayhawk to capture a first place finish this season at the Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational in September. A 2014 Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection, Potee is averaging 76.81 strokes per round in the 2013-14 campaign.
Last season the Jayhawks finished eighth at the 2013 Big 12 Championship with a three-round total of 941 (+77) at The Harvester Golf Club in Rhodes, Iowa. Mook earned Big 12 Championship All-Tournament honors when she tied for 10th at the conference championship with a 229 (+13) to lead the Jayhawks.
In the 17-year history of the Big 12, Kansas is searching for its first Big 12 Championship. Kansas’ women’s golf lone conference championship came back in 1990 when KU captured the Big Eight Conference title.
The Big 12 Championship will be played on a 6,369-yard, par-72 course at the University of Texas Golf Club. The event will feature 54 holes as the competitors will see 18 holes on Friday, April 25, Saturday, April 26, and Sunday April 27.
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