Sophomore Sara Monberg
Sept. 12, 2010
By Zachary Stipe, Media Relations Assistant
BRYAN, Texas. - Led by All-American junior Nathalie Mansson, the Tennessee Lady Vol golf team opens the season against the best competition in the country from Monday to Wednesday at the NCAA Fall Preview Presented By Calloway.
Ranked No. 12 in the preseason NGCA/Golf World Coaches poll, the Big Orange is one of 17 preseason Top 25 teams at the 18-team tournament. Hosted by Texas A&M, the Fall Preview also features nine of the preseason top 10 teams and Golf World's top 10 individual players to watch.
Senior Lauren Spurlock talks about the start of the season.
The par-72, 54-hole event is being held at the Traditions Club, site of the 2011 NCAA Championships, and the Lady Vols will tee off from hole No. 10 at 9:30 a.m. CT with No. 25 Texas and No. 13 Georgia. Tee times start each day at 8 a.m. CT. Live scoring will be provided by golfstat.com.
Lady Vol head coach Judi Pavon, in her 11th year atop the Tennessee program, expects her team to take plenty of notes on the course this week in anticipation of returning for NCAA's in May.
"The last two years, we've made it to Nationals but did not play at the Fall Preview, and I think that really hurt us because the courses were difficult," Pavon said. "Obviously, it's an advantage to know the course. We're really excited about going to the Preview, but we understand that it's early in the season. We want to finish well, but my focus is on getting this team prepared for Nationals at the end of the year by being here this week. It'll help us know what our strongest lineup will be by knowing what the course is like. It's a great opportunity."
In the lineup for Tennessee this week will be Mansson, a NGCA All-America Second Team and All-SEC First Team selection in 2010, senior Lauren Spurlock, sophomores Sara Monberg and Leigh Henderson and freshman Chessey Thomas.
Mansson, Spurlock and Monberg were all part of the runner-up NCAA East Regional and tied-for-19th place NCAA Championships squad from last season. Henderson played in a pair of tournaments in 2009-10, while Thomas, the 2010 Washington high school girls champion, will be making her collegiate debut.
"They've all looked great in qualifying," Pavon said. "We're expecting them to play well at the Fall Preview. It's a great tournament with a very strong field. It's a hard tournament to start at, but I'm still expecting them to play well."