Feb. 19, 2010
STANFORD, Calif. -
Stanford will get an early spring indicator of where it stacks up against some of the top teams in the nation when the Cardinal head to Tucson for the 16-team, 54-hole Wildcat Invitational, which gets underway on Monday at the Arizona National Golf Club.
The field includes six of the top-10 teams in the nation, including top-ranked Arizona State, No. 3 Auburn, No. 5 USC, No. 6 Tennessee, No. 8 Duke and No. 9 Pepperdine. Other nationally ranked teams in the field are No. 13 California, No. 14 Denver, No. 19 Oklahoma State along with No. 22 Stanford.
Six of the nation's top individual players are also in the field, including No. 2 Cydney Clanton of Auburn, No. 4 Caroline Hedwall of Oklahoma State and No. 6 Lizette Sales of USC, who shared medalist honors in last year's event with a 54-hole score of 213 (-3).
The field will play 36 holes on Monday and wrap up with 18 holes on Tuesday at Arizona National Golf Club, which will play to a par of 71 and 6,146 yards for this event.
"The field is certainly very strong, but all of our attention will be centered on maneuvering ourselves around the course and not on what the other teams are doing," said head coach Caroline O'Connor. "We'll play four rounds of golf in a 48 hour period. We've worked very hard on our strength and conditioning programs over the past few months so I'm confident that our training will help us to be mentally and physically prepared for the four rounds.
"The golf course and format will demand patience and focus," said O'Connor. "The course is very much target-oriented off the tee and accurate club selection into the greens is critical, factoring in some often extreme elevation changes at a high altitude."
O'Connor is expected to send out a lineup consisting of freshman Sally Watson, junior Rebecca Durham, freshman Kristina Wong, sophomore Lila Barton and senior Angela King. Sophomore Sydney Burlison will play as an individual.
Stanford is coming off a first place finish at the Peg Barnard Invitational held at Stanford Golf Course. The Cardinal erased an eight-shot deficit over the final 18 holes to clip Cal by one stroke for the team title.
Watson, who is ranked 43rd this week in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, earned co-medalist honors with a two-day score of 144 (73-71), sharing the title with Cal's Joanne Lee. Watson's older sister, Rebecca, is a junior on Tennessee's squad.
"Last weekend's victory was certainly a good way to start the spring season," said O'Connor. We're hopeful that our strong play last Sunday will springboard us into a solid tournament in Arizona."