Sam Houston State begins play Monday in the 12th annual Southland Conference Women's Golf Championship at the Frisco Lakes Golf Club in Frisco, Texas. The newly renovated 5,977-yard par 72 will be hosting its first Southland tournament.
The Bearkats finished fourth in last year’s championships in San Marcos. Sam Houston State won the Southland women's title in 2004 and 2007 and were runners-up in 2002, 2008 and 2010.
The Kats are led by two-time first-team all-conference selection Shelby Hardy. The senior from San Saba, Texas, has two individual wins in 10 tournaments this season and averages 75.50 strokes per round.
Hardy is one of the top returning finishers from last year’s tournament, having tied Central Arkansas’ Malin Senneryd.
Freshman Nicole Budnik comes into the tournament as one of the top golfers, averaging 77.46 strokes per round in 10 tournaments this season, helping Sam Houston claim two team wins on the year.
Lamar has the highest conference Golfstat ranking, entering this season’s tournament. Last season, the Lady Cardinals finished third at the conference championship and return second-team all-conference member Julie Aime.
Oral Roberts will be competing in its first Southland tournament, having won its previous conference title for the last 15 years. The Golden Eagles, who have not missed an NCAA tournament since 2000, are led by Alejandra Acosta.
Other notable returning golfers include Central Arkansas’ Julia Roth and Senneryd, McNeese State’s McKayla Anderson, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Vanessa Johnson and Stephen F. Austin’s Chelsea Simmons.
The conference tournament is slated to tee off Monday at 8 a.m., when team pairings will be based on seeding. Golfers will then play 18 holes Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Eight Southland universities field a women's golf team: Central Arkansas, Lamar, McNeese State, Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin, UTSA, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Texas State.
Live scoring for the conference championship will be available at www.southland.org.