WACO -- No. 14-ranked Texas A&M and senior Ashley Knoll will look to repeat as conference champions at the Big 12 Women's Golf Championships Monday through Wednesday at Ridgewood Country Club.
The Aggies cruised to the title by a record 11 strokes last year in Lincoln, Neb., led by Knoll, who captured individual honors by six shots en route to Big 12 Player of the Year honors.
The tournament will consist of 18 holes each day on the 6,142-yard, par-72 course. Monday's start is scheduled for 9 a.m. And admission is free. Live scoring can be followed online at www.golfstat.com.
No. 11 Oklahoma State, runner-up to the Aggies last year, enters the
tournament as the league's highest-ranked team. A&M is 2-4 against the
Cowgirls this season, but beat them by 14 strokes at the PING/Arizona State Invitational earlier this month.
Joining Knoll in A&M's lineup will be sophomore Lauren Johnson, senior
Christa Spedding and freshmen Danielle McVeigh and Ashley Freeman.
"We have had a good week of focused practice and the team is ready to Play," A&M Coach Jeanne Sutherland. "We know that we will have strong competition from Oklahoma State, who is ranked a few spots ahead of us.
Baylor and Nebraska have also played well this spring, so it isn't just a
two-team contest. We plan to play to our strengths, stick to our game plan and battle for each shot."
The Aggies have won two of their last four tournaments, claiming the Central District Invitational in February and the Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational in March. A&M is coming off a tie for third at the Arizona State Invitational on April 1.
A first-team All-American as a junior, Knoll is ranked No. 8 nationally and
is the Big 12's highest-ranked golfer. She leads the team with a 73.04
scoring average, has won three tournaments and has posted nine top-11 finishes in 11 starts.
Ranked 80th nationally, McVeigh has finished in the top 20 in three of her last four starts, including a playoff victory at the Thompson Invitational in Hawaii. She is second on the team in scoring at 75.38, which is on pace to break the A&M freshman record of 75.94 set by Nicole Melton in 2001-02.
Johnson is third on the team in scoring (76.41) and has come on strong in the spring, placing in the top 20 in three of her last four tournaments,
including a tie for ninth at the Thompson Invitational.
Spedding earned All-Big 12 honors last season and has been in the top 25 in four of her last five event. She tied for second at the Northrup Grumman Regional Challenge in early February. Freeman also has had a solid spring with three top 25s in her last four tournaments.
A&M has claimed three conference titles in its history, winning the
Southwest Conference in 1985 and the Big 12 in 1998 and 2006. In Big 12 play, Oklahoma State has won five conference championships, followed by A&M (two), Texas (two) and Oklahoma (one).
Last season, Knoll became the fifth Aggie to win an individual conference crown. Patricia Gonzales (1985), Jamie Hullett (1995) and Isabelle Rosberg (1995) captured the SWC title, while Rosberg (1998) was the only other A&M player to claim the Big 12 crown.