Feb. 15, 2011
By Zach Stipe, Media Relations Assistant
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Lady Volunteer golf team will host the 2011 Mercedes-Benz SEC/Pac-12 Challenge from Oct. 21-23, Lady Vol head golf coach Judi Pavon announced on Tuesday.
This will mark the 15th consecutive year UT has partnered with Mercedes-Benz to produce a women's golf tournament hosted by the Lady Vols.
Tennessee captured back-to-back Mercedes-Benz Women's Collegiate Championships titles in 2009 and 2010 at Knoxville's Fox Den Country Club and Holston Hills Country Club, respectively.
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz SEC/Pac-12 Challenge will return to Holston Hills and feature arguably the deepest field of any 2011-12 regular season tournament. The 22-team competition will feature 14 of Golfstat's current Top 25 teams, including the nation's top four squads.
The SEC/Pac-10 Challenge debuted this past fall at Stanford in November, with UCLA taking home the inaugural team title and USC's Sophia Popov capturing the individual title. A champion between the conferences was also decided, with the Pac-10 earning the win.
"This is one of the strongest fields of the year and a very prestigious event," Pavon said. "We are thrilled to be hosting next fall and bringing the best teams to Knoxville for some great hospitality. It will be an opportunity for the local area to see some of the best teams and players in collegiate golf as well as many future LPGA stars.
"Holston Hills will be a great venue for the tournament, which is in its second season, and was conceived by coaches to settle the constant debate over which conference is stronger in women's golf. UCLA and the Pac-10 were victorious in 2010, so the SEC is looking to settle the score in 2011."
At the 2010 Mercedes-Benz tournament, the Lady Vols captured the team title by 20 strokes, while sophomore Erica Popson won her first collegiate crown on the first playoff hole. UT set new school records for total team score (15-under 849) and individual total (Popson's 9-under 207) at the Holston Hills course.
Tennessee, currently ranked No. 18 by Golfstat and No. 16 by Golfweek, returns to competition at the end of this month at the All-State Sugar Bowl Championship in New Orleans, La., from Feb. 27-March 1.