The No. 3 Virginia women’s golf team begins its quest to return to the NCAA Championships Thursday when the Cavaliers start play at the NCAA East Regional Championship. UVa is the top seed in the 21-team field that competes in the three-day 54-hole tournament May 7-9 at the University of Florida Golf Course. The top eight teams from each of the three 21-team regional sites will advance to the NCAA Championships along with the top two individuals from each site. The NCAA Championships are scheduled for May 19-22 at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md.
The field for the East Regional includes (listed by seed): Virginia, Auburn, Alabama, North Carolina, Duke, Denver, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Tulane, Florida, East Carolina, Mississippi, South Carolina, Furman, College of Charleston, Florida State, Central Florida, Coastal Carolina, Stetson and Jackson State.
The Cavaliers’ begin play on the first tee at 8:30 a.m. during the first round while paired with Alabama and Auburn. Those same two teams will start their second round at 12:40 p.m. from the 10th tee. Saturday’s final round tee times are based on the tournament standings after the first 36 holes of play.
Live scoring is online at Golfstat.com.
The Virginia Lineup
Joy Kim So. Duluth, Ga. 77.05
Lene Krog Sr. Lier, Norway 75.58
Whitney Neuhauser Jr. Barboursville, Va. 73.04
Calle Nielson So. Nashville, Tenn. 73.67
Kristen Simpson Sr. Norfolk, Va. 76.67
Virginia’s six-year-old program has advanced to the NCAA Championships twice in 2005 and 2008. Last year the team finished 12th overall (1215), led by Lene Krog’s 28th-place finish (299). In the Cavaliers’ first NCAA appearance, current LPGA professional Leah Wigger finished second overall at the event held at the Sun River Resort in Sun River, Ore. She shot 3-over 287 including a 69 during the final round. The Cavaliers were 13th overall.
The 2009 NCAA East Regional marks the first time the Cavalier have advanced to postseason play as a number-one seed. Last year Virginia entered the East Regional as the No. 7 seeded team.
Previous NCAA Regional Appearances
2005 5th, NCAA East Regional Gainesville, FL
2006 8th (lost tiebreaker), NCAA East Regional Brown Summit, NC
2007 9th (tie), NCAA East Regional Baton Rouge, LA
2008 5th, NCAA East Regional Athens, Ga.
Playing at Florida
No member of the current Virginia team has played a collegiate event at the University of Florida Golf Course. The last time the Cavaliers competed at the facility came during the 2004-05 season. UVa was 12th at the Sun Trust Lady Gator Invitational in March and finished fifth of 21 teams at the NCAA East Regional in May.
Virginia is ranked No. 3 in the latest Golfstat standings and are No. 5 in the Golfweek poll. Sophomore Calle Nielson is ranked No. 28 by Golfweek and No. 41 in the Golfstat Cup standings. Junior Whitney Neuhauser is No. 31 in Golfweek and No. 18 in the Golfstat Cup poll.
Numbers of Note
Twice this season Virginia tied its best single-round score of 284. The Cavaliers produced that number during the second round of the stroke play portion of the NGCA Match Play and then again in the final round of the LSU Classic. Virginia’s team score at LSU, 856, crushed the existing record of 872 set during the 2008 season. Virginia managed a top-five finish in eight of nine tournaments this year. The lone exception was an eighth-place finish at the Liz Murphey Classic that was shortened to an 18-hole event due to rain. Virginia finished first at the LSU Classic, the second victory in the program’s history. The Cavaliers had runner-up showings at The Derby, the NGCA Match Play (in stroke play) and the Bryan National Collegiate. UVa finished third at the season-opening Fall Preview.
The Virginia women’s golf team added another first for the six-year-old program when the Atlantic Coast Conference announced its All-ACC team. For the first time in UVa history, three Cavaliers earned all-conference honors. That group includes senior Jennie Arseneault, junior Whitney Neuhauser and sophomore Calle Nielson. Arseneault and Nielson picked up the honor for the second time in their careers. Nielson repeats from the 2008 squad while Arseneault earned all-league accolades as a sophomore in 2007. They are the only UVa golfers, except current LPGA tour member Leah Wigger, to earn All-ACC honors in multiple seasons.