UCF Challenge Starts on Monday

Feb. 25, 2010




By Sean Simon

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF women's golf team will host the fourth-annual UCF Challenge, March 1-2 at the RedTail Golf Club in Sorrento.

Seventeen teams, including 16 ranked in the Golfweek Top 100, will compete in the two-day 54-hole tournament. The UCF Challenge returns to the RedTail course for the third consecutive year after the inaugural 2007 event was played at the Villas of Grand Cypress.

In each of the past three years, the eventual national champion has participated in the UCF Challenge (Duke in 2007, USC in 2008, and Arizona State in 2009). All 18 teams in the 2009 UCF Challenge field qualified for NCAA Regionals, with 13 advancing to the NCAA Championship.

Eight teams in the 2010 field are coming off 2009 NCAA tournament qualifying seasons. "It's a good solid field," said UCF head coach Courtney Trimble. "It is deep from the 30th through the 60th ranked teams. It has a lot of teams that are closely ranked and teams that we are familiar with. It's up for grabs."

Play begins with an 8 a.m. shotgun start on Monday that will include two rounds of play. The final round will be a 9 a.m. shotgun start on Tuesday to complete the 54 holes of play at the par-72, 6,301-yard course.

Fans at RedTail will see a diverse group competing Monday and Tuesday with the school rosters featuring student-athletes from 24 different states and 17 countries on all six inhabited continents.

In Coach Trimble's first season as head coach, the Knights currently have a 77.09 stroke average, compared to the 78.22 average of 2008-09. UCF has also recorded 13 par or better rounds in a total of 12 team rounds this season. That sum is just four shy of last year's total of 17 which took 30 team rounds to complete.

UCF had only six top 10 individual finishes in 2008-09 and already has eight in 2009-10. Five different Knights have finished in the top 10 of an event this year.

All seven members of the UCF team will compete in the event after its Hurricane Invitational win last weekend at Don Shula's Golf Resort in Miami Lakes, Fla., UCF's first team win since 2002. Freshman Carolin Pinegger (Marquartstein, Germany) will cap the UCF lineup card after being selected as Conference USA Woman Golfer of the Week and Bright House UCF Student-Athlete of the Week following her top 10 finish in Miami Lakes.

Freshman Valentina Fontaine (Santiago, Chile) who tied seventh overall in Miami Lakes with Pinegger, will be second followed by junior Katie Detlefsen (Eagan, Minn.), senior Victoria Tomko (Lontzen, Belgium), and sophomore Elisa Aoki (Bradenton, Fla.). Freshmen Sammy Vass (Tain, Scotland) and Sunny Harris (Pensacola, Fla.) will compete as individuals. Tomko will be playing in her fourth and final UCF Challenge since playing in the inaugural tournament in 2007.

"I think that we certainly enjoyed our win but we know that it's time to get prepared for the tournament at RedTail," said Trimble. "The girls have been working really hard. There's really not much that I can do with them anymore because they're prepared to play. I think the timing couldn't have been better because now they believe that they can win. I've been telling them for months that they can and now they know it so that's their goal."

Last year, UCF finished 18th in the tournament that included several national championship participating squads. On Monday, the Knights plan to finish higher than they ever have in the UCF Challenge with the more level playing field and home-course advantage.

"It's an opportunity for us to play on golf course that we're familiar with in front of our home fans," said Trimble. "We only get to do it one time a year so you always want to play well. In years past they haven't had much success so this year the team is really looking to claim a stake of their home tournament."

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 pi