After a five-year absence, the CSU womenâ€™s golf team returns to the NCAA West Regional today in Stanford, Calif.
Kasey Claussen, Natalie Stone, Melissa Martin, Brianna Espinoza and Emily Roering tee off this afternoon at Stanford Golf Course.
This par-71 course, which was rated the third-best college course by GolfChannel in 2009, spans across 6,103 yards. And it plays tough.
Head coach Angie Hopkins competed at the NCAA West Regional on the same course her senior year at New Mexico.
â€œItâ€™s playing pretty tough. They definitely have this course NCAA-tough,â€ Hopkins said. â€œThe rough is going to be a challenge. At times, youâ€™ll just have to chip out.â€
The team played a practice round Wednesday.
â€œThere will be some holes youâ€™re going for a bogey. A par would be like getting a birdie,â€ Hopkins said.
The team will rely on seniors Claussen and Stone for leadership. The two tied for sixth at the Mountain West Conference Championships April 17.
A three-year letter winner, Claussen earned a spot on the 2009-10 all-Mountain West Conference team.
â€œShe (Claussen) just knows how to play golf. She is very experienced, and her play has gotten better every year,â€ Hopkins said. â€œWe get great leadership from our seniors.â€
Martin and Espinoza are sophomores, and Roering is a freshman. Today is Roeringâ€™s first time playing in California.
â€œEverything is new for her. Sheâ€™s had a great attitude, and this weekend will be a learning process for her,â€ Hopkins said.
The NCAA West Regional field includes CSU, UCLA, Alabama, Arizona, Ohio State, Virginia, Stanford, LSU, California, Texas A&M, Texas, UC Davis, Arkansas, UNLV, San Jose State, San Francisco, Idaho, UC Irvine, Iowa State, Maryland, Oral Roberts, Texas State, Pennsylvania and Portland State.
Individuals competing include Amy Anderson (North Dakota State), Teresa Puga (Minnesota) and Ellen Mueller (Oklahoma).
This year marks the programâ€™s first regional appearance since 2005 when they placed 15th. It is the Ramsâ€™ fourth appearance in the NCAAâ€™s.
Hopkins is excited for her team and expects the squad to play with confidence.
â€œThis is a good group. Our team chemistry is really good,â€ Hopkins said. â€œI just want the team to believe in themselves and play the best they can.â€
The tournament runs through Saturday.
CSU tees off at 1:30 p.m. Mountain Time. Follow the NCAA West Regional at www.GolfStat.com and on Twitter @WestRegional.
Sports Reporter Stephen Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the team
What: NCAA West Regional
Where: Stanford, Calif.