March 6, 2009
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The 15th-ranked women's golf team will face their toughest competition of the spring season as they square off against seven of the nation's Top-10 teams at the UCF Challenge on March 8-10 in Sorrento, Fla. Among the 18-team field are 13 teams ranked in the Top-25 of the latest Golfworld/NGCA Coaches' Poll, including No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 Arizona State, No. 3 USC and No. 4 Oklahoma State.
The three-day 54-hole tournament is being played at the 6,301-yard par-72 Red Tail Golf Club in Sorrento, Fla. and will feature 18 holes each day with tee times beginning at 9 a.m. on Sunday and Monday and 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
Purdue will be searching for their second victory in the spring season and fourth first place finish of the 2008-09 season. Earlier this spring the Boilermakers finished with a 21-stroke win at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic and took home victories at both the Windy City Collegiate and Lady Northern Invitational in the fall.
Leading the way for the Boilermakers will be senior Maria Hernandez who enters this weekend averaging a team-best 73.5 strokes per round. The Pamplona, Spain, native has also claimed medalist honors twice this season, once at the Lady Northern Invitational and again at the Lady Puerto Classic in February, resulting in her fifth-career Big Ten Golfer of the Week award.
Sophomore Maude-Aimee Leblanc has also earned the conference's honor this spring after guiding the Boilermakers to a third-place showing at the Central District Invitational. The Sherbrooke, Quebec, native fired a three-round total of 218 to tie for fifth as an individual and fired a team-best 68 in the second round, tying her career low round at Purdue. She is averaging 74.1 strokes per round this season.
Other Boilermakers competing this weekend are Junthima Gulyanamitta, who will be looking to improve on her second finish at the 2008 UCF Challenge, red-shirt freshman Thea Hoffmeister and freshman Vaishavi Sinha. All five of Purdue's golfers have landed in the Top-20 in at least one event this season, with four of the five golfers finishing higher than 10th at least twice.
In addition to No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 Arizona State, No. 3 USC and No. 4 Oklahoma State, Purdue will be battling: No. 6 Alabama, No. 7 Duke, No. 10 Pepperdine, No. 11 Auburn, No. 12 Vanderbilt, No. 13 North Carolina, No. 14 LSU, No. 22 Arizona, Florida , Florida State, Tennessee, Texas and host UCF.
The field also includes 29 individuals ranked in the Top-50 of the latest Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index and 44 of the Top-100.
This is Boilermakers' third time competing at the UCF Challenge with their highest finish coming last year when they landed in second place after firing a 54-hole total, 860 (-4), the second lowest 54-hole score in school history.
Duke has won both UCF Challenges to date with a 2008 score of 851 (-13). The Lady Blue Devils have also produced both UCF Challenge individual medalists with Amanda Blumenherst winning in 2007 and Alison Whitaker in 2008.
Live scoring of all three rounds can be found on golfstat.com. A full recap and results of each round will be posted at PurdueSports.com.