UNCG women's golf to open spring season Lady Gator Invite
UNCG at Lady Gator Invite (hosted by Florida), March 6-7, University of Florida GC, Gainesville, Fla.
By Rob Daniels
UNCG's women's golf team will open the spring portion of its season at the Lady Gator Invite in Gainesville, Fla., on Sunday.
BACK FOR MORE: When the Spartans tee off their spring season, sophomore Courtney Taylor will seek to build on a year in which she was named Southern Conference Freshman of the Year. Taylor ranked fifth in the Southern Conference in stroke average; finished in the top 10 in five of the team's 11 events, including three top-6 performances in six spring events; and stood in the top third of all national competitors in the database at golfweek.com. Along the way, she set the school record for low 54-hole score, a 216 in the SunTrust Gator Women's Invitational at the University of Florida. The performance, which was good for fourth place in the elite field, bested the Spartan standard held for 15 years by Becky Morgan, an LPGA Tour member since 2001.
Taylor tweaked her swing in the fall with mixed results and believes she has rediscovered the form she displayed in the spring of 2010.
"Golfers are always tinkering with their swings," coach Emily Marron said. "Sometimes, you have to take a step back to take a step forward. She is really excited about this weekend."
IN RESIDENCE: Next week is UNCG's spring break, and the Spartans will spend it all in the state of Florida. After competing in the SunTrust Gator Invitational in Gainesville, they'll take two days to practice before heading to Jacksonville for the JMU Eagle Landing Invitational, an event hosted by James Madison University.
"That's pretty cool," Marron said. "You're going to Florida for spring break and you get to play golf for nine days. In the first tournament, you never know what to expect. In Jacksonville, we'll have higher expectations."
The Spartans will face several nationally ranked opponents in the two Sunshine State stops. Among them are Arkansas, Florida State, Iowa State, Ohio State, Chattanooga, Texas Tech and Colorado.
NEW FACE, FAMILIAR PLACE: Begona Sarabia, a junior from Bilbao, Spain, hasn't struck a ball in competition for the Spartans yet, but she's familiar with the home turf. As a sophomore at the University of Miami last spring, Sarabia was the Hurricanes' top finisher (27th place) in the ACC championship at historic Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro. She also played for Miami in the UNCG Starmount Fall Classic in 2009. Ranked in the European Top 200 while still of high school age, she is expected to make an immediate impact in her new program.
Her arrival restores conventional depth to the lineup and essentially increases the Spartans' margin for error after they played the fall a player down.
"It's going to make them all relax a bit," Marron said.
COURSEWORK: Three Spartans have spent more than two semesters at UNCG, and all three have earned institutional academic acclaim in that time. Taylor, Ana Lucia Martinez and Erica Creed have been on the Dean's List, which is recognized on a semester-by-semester basis. Taylor and Martinez were also members of the Chancellor's List, which recognizes cumulative achievement, in the spring of 2010. In the 2008-09 academic year, the most recent for which records are available, UNCG posted a perfect score of 1,000 in the Academic Progress Rate, the NCAA's "real-time" tracking system. The number is the result of four years of data that measure eligibility maintenance.
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