STILLWATER, OK -- No. 22-ranked Texas A&M reaches for its third straight Big 12 Women's Golf Championship beginning Friday at Karsten Creek Golf Club.
The primary obstacle in the Aggies' path is No. 9 Oklahoma State, which has the advantage of playing on their home course. The only other team ranked in the top 25 by Golfweek is No. 21 Texas.
The tournament continues through Sunday with play beginning at 9 a.m. each day. Admission is free. Live scoring is available online at golfstat.com.
In its first season under Head Coach Trelle McCombs, A&M is 2-2 against OSU, including an eight-shot victory at the PING/Arizona State Invitational earlier this month. The Aggies are 2-1 against Texas with the only loss coming in the season opener in September.
A&M has trailed Oklahoma State going into the final round each of the last two seasons. In 2006 in Lincoln, Neb., the Aggies trailed by three shots but went on to win by a tournament record 11 strokes. Last year in Waco, OSU led by four shots but A&M rallied to win by five.
Only four teams have won the Big 12 title in the 11-year history of the event. Oklahoma State has won five, A&M has captured three, Texas has taken two and Oklahoma has one. The Aggies also won the crown in 1998 in Norman, the only other time the tournament was played in Oklahoma.
"Our preparation for the Big 12 Championships hasn't been any different than any other tournament," McCombs said. "We want to make sure that we approach each round the same way we would in regular season play. We are not getting caught up in a 'three-peat,' we are focusing only on this tournament."
Freshman Sarah Zwartynski leads the Aggies with a 75.50 stroke average and has posted six top-25 finishes in eight tournaments, including a tie for sixth at the PING/ASU Invitational on April 6. Her scoring average is the fifth best in school history and the second best by a freshman. Golfweek ranks Zwartynski No. 63 nationally.
Junior Lauren Johnson is appearing in her third straight Big 12 Championship. She finished 12th last year and 9th in 2006. Ranked No. 93 by Golfweek, Johnson is second on the team in scoring at 76.13 and has had four top-20 finishes. She finished seventh at the Central District Invitational in February.
Sophomore Danielle McVeigh, who tied for fourth at the 2007 Big 12 tournament, has a 76.16 average but has been slowed by injuries this spring. An All-Big 12 pick as a freshman, she placed in the top 20 in the first four events of the year, but withdrew from the Central District Invitational and the Texas A&M "Mo"morial. McVeigh finished 31st in her last start at the PING/ASU Invitational.
Sophomore Ashley Freeman and senior Miranda Orr complete the lineup. Freeman averages 76.38 and has had three top-25 finishes, including a fifth-place effort at the Central District Invitational. She tied for 17th at the Big 12 tournament last season. Orr averages 80.33 and has played in four of eight events.
A&M has had a strong spring season with three top-four finishes in the last four tournaments. The Aggies were runners-up at the Central District Invitational in February and placed fourth at the A&M ?Mo?morial and the PING/ASU Invitational.
Karsten Creek has been ranked as the best college course in the country by Travel & Leisure Golf magazine. The par-72 course measures 6,210 yards.
"I'm excited to get to Stillwater and see just how well my girls can play that golf course," McCombs said. ?It is a tough course, but a fairway is a fairway, a green is a green and that's how we are approaching it. We are going to play Aggie golf and stick to our game plan."