HORSESHOE BAY -- With a young squad that leads the Southland Conference in stroke average and has finished in first place in three of the 10 events it has played during the 2006-07 season, the Sam Houston State women's golf team hopes to break the strangle hold Lamar University has on the SLC's women's title.
Play begins today (Monday) as the three-day, 54-hole championship will be contested on the Ram Rock Golf Course at Horseshoe Bay Resort in Horseshoe Bay , Texas . Teams tee of at 8 a.m. each day on the 5,901-yard, par-72, course.
The Cardinals have won the Southland championship three of the five years since the SLC began awarding a crown in women's golf. Lamar won in 2003 and the past two seasons. Sam Houston State was league titlist in 2004 and Texas State-San Marcos won the inaugural Southland tournament in 2002.
Lamar won the 2006 SLC title by 21 strokes over Texas State-San Marcos. The 2005 Lady Cardinals of Lamar were victorious by 15 strokes over second-place McNeese State . Lamar's 21-stroke win last year was the largest ever for the SLC championship.
Defending individual champion Theresa Nilsson of Lamar returns after being named SLC Freshman of the Year in 2006. She won last year's championship by shooting a 227 (78-75-74) to help Lamar to a three-day total of 936.
Another Lady Cardinal that has tasted victory at the SLC tournament is
junior Hillary Zeigler. The Livingston, Texas , native captured the 2005
individual title with a 225 (77-72-76).
Sam Houston State leads all SLC teams this year with a 307.21 stroke average over 29 rounds.
SHSU's Stefanie Page leads all Southland golfers into the postseason with a 75.62 stroke average over 29 rounds. She has five top-10 finishes in 10 events this year and posted a season-best 71 at the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islander Spring Classic in late February.
With the addition of Central Arkansas and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to the league this year, an all-time high eight teams will battle for the SLC crown in 2007. Just five SLC schools sponsored women's golf for the first five
(2002-05) years of the sports' existence in the SLC. UTSA and
Louisiana-Monroe, which has since departed for the Sun Belt Conference, added women's golf and competed for the 2006 championship to up the number of participants to seven.