TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Coming off a victory at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic, the Alabama women’s golf team will travel to Orlando, Fla. to compete in the University of Central Florida Challenge, March 9-11. The event will be played at the par-72, 6301-yard Red Tail Country Club.
Three Crimson Tide golfers finished in the top 10 at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic, the Tide’s first competition of the spring. Kathleen Ekey led the charge, finishing in a tie for seventh with a two-over-par 218. Sarah Sturm and Rhea Nair each posted a 220 (+4), good for a tie for 10th place.
For her effort, Sturm was named the Golf World College Female Golfer of the Week. It is the first weekly honor for the Tide this season. Sturm was joined by Alabama men’s golfer Matthew Swan. Swan was named the Golf World College Male of the Week. It is the first time in the history of the two programs that a player from each squad has earned the honor in the same week.
The Tide will face off against a loaded field at the UCF Challenge; all 18 teams are ranked in the top 50 of the Golfweek rankings, and nine of the nation’s top 12 teams are scheduled to play, including first-ranked Duke and second-ranked UCLA.
Seven other SEC schools will join Alabama in the tournament, all of whom are ranked in the top 25. Florida, Arkansas and Auburn all currently sit in the top 10. The Tide comes in ranked 14th after the victory at the Puerto Rico Classic.
The Tide began the spring season by winning the Lady Puerto Rico Classic, out-dueling 14 teams ranked in the Golfweek top 50. Alabama shot a final round 290 (+2) to overtake LSU and Kent State and win the title.
The Tide finished the tournament with a score of 880 (+16), three strokes ahead of second-place LSU. Senior Sarah Sturm shot the best round of the tournament for Alabama with a final round, one-under-par, 71.
Alabama competed in the UCF Challenge last year, coming away with an eighth-place finish in the 13 team field. As a junior last season, Sarah Sturm posted the best score for the Tide with a nine-over-par 225. Sturm along with sophomores Rhea Nair and Helena Blomberg will compete in the tournament for the second straight year.