UCF Hosts Elite Women's Golf Event Starting on Sunday

March 5, 2009

Directions to RedTail Golf Club


Perhaps the greatest collection of women's collegiate golfers outside of the NCAA Championship is on its way to Orlando to participate in the annual UCF Challenge, March 8-10 at the RedTail Golf Club in Sorrento. The 18 teams in the field include 13 of the Top 20 teams in America and possess seven of the Top 10 individuals in the nation on their collective rosters and 29 of the Top 50 overall.

In each of the past two years, the eventual national champion has participated in the UCF Challenge (Duke in 2007 and USC in 2008). The 18 teams in the 2009 field have combined to win 19 of the 27 all-time NCAA Women's Golf Championships and produced 18 of the 27 all-time NCAA individual champions, including current UCF head coach Emilee Klein (Arizona State, 1994).

All 18 teams in the 2008 UCF Challenge qualified for the NCAA Regionals with 10 advancing onto the NCAA Championship, including the eventual national champions from USC. Similar results could come just as easily for the 2009 field.

The full field includes No. 1 Arizona State, No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 USC, No. 5 Alabama, No. 6 Oklahoma State, No. 8 Auburn, No. 9 Duke, No. 11 LSU, No. 12 Pepperdine, No. 13 Purdue, No. 14 Vanderbilt, No. 15 North Carolina, No. 20 Arizona, No. 28 Florida, No. 34 Texas, No. 37 Tennessee, No. 42 UCF and No. 57 Florida State.

So, the challenge for UCF is daunting but Klein, who helped make the event the prestigious showcase that it is, wouldn't have it any other way.

"It's a great event," Klein said. "I am so proud to host it. I am really excited that the girls on our team get to play against the best teams. It's like hosting a national championship in our back yard. It allows us to compete against the best and gain a lot of national notoriety. It allows us to go to other top tournaments hosted by these schools as well.

"It's been really exciting to see it all come together. I'm very proud of this tournament. It's one that teams have been on a wait list to get into. We have teams from all across the country. It doesn't happen very often that the west coast teams come to the east coast. It's very special to me and has a special place in my heart that we've been able to make this happen."

Play begins at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday and Monday and at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Each day will feature a single 18-hole round for a total of 54 holes of play at the par-72, 6,301-yard course.

All six members of the UCF squad will compete in the event. Fresh off of Top 10 finishes at the Edwin Watts / Kiawah Island Classic Feb. 22-24, senior Stephanie Connelly (Pasadena, Md.) and freshman Elisa Aoki (Bradenton, Fla.) are UCF's top two for the UCF Challenge. Senior Mayule Tomimbang (Kissimmee, Fla.) enters her final UCF Challenge as UCF's third golfer while junior Victoria Tomko (Lontzen, Belgium) and Katie Detlefsen (Eagan, Minn.) round out UCF's five team entrants. Sophomore Jessy Tang (Miami, Fla.) will also compete as an individual.

"We're going to go out there and play the best that we can," Klein said. "Obviously, it's a very strong field and we just want to play the course the way that we know how to. We've played it a lot. The girls love the course and have played it well. We had a good year last year at this tournament. We're just going to go out there and play our games and hopefully we can come out in the top 10."

Last year, UCF tied Tennessee for 14th place, finishing ahead of eventual NCAA Championship qualifier Furman and NCAA Regional qualifiers Vanderbilt and New Mexico.

Duke won both the 2007 and 2008 UCF Challenges. In 2007, Amanda Blumenherst of Duke won the individual medalist honor while the Blue Devils' Alison Whitaker captured that prize in 2008. Both are still members of the Duke team and will shoot for the top spot in 2009 as well.

Fans at RedTail will also get to watch a diverse field. The rosters of the 18 schools feature student-athletes from 28 states and 23 countries on five different continents.

For the latest news on the Knights, log on to UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.