May 052010
 
Authors: Stephen Meyers

After a five-year absence, the CSU women’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.

“It’s playing pretty tough. They definitely have this course NCAA-tough,” Hopkins said. “The rough is going to be a challenge. At times, you’ll just have to chip out.”

The team played a practice round Wednesday.

“There will be some holes you’re going for a bogey. A par would be like getting a birdie,” 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.

“She (Claussen) just knows how to play golf. She is very experienced, and her play has gotten better every year,” Hopkins said. “We get great leadership from our seniors.”

Martin and Espinoza are sophomores, and Roering is a freshman. Today is Roering’s first time playing in California.

“Everything is new for her. She’s had a great attitude, and this weekend will be a learning process for her,” 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 program’s first regional appearance since 2005 when they placed 15th. It is the Rams’ fourth appearance in the NCAA’s.
Hopkins is excited for her team and expects the squad to play with confidence.

“This is a good group. Our team chemistry is really good,” Hopkins said. “I just want the team to believe in themselves and play the best they can.”

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 sports@collegian.com.

About the team

What: NCAA West Regional
When: Today
Where: Stanford, Calif.

Lineup:
Kasey Claussen
Brianna Espinoza
Melissa Martin
Emily Roering
Natalie Stone

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