Women's golf set to begin play at Sun Belt Championship

Blue Raiders will tee off on Monday morning

April 15, 2012 · Athletic Communications
MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. - After back-to-back runner-up finishes in each of the previous two Sun Belt Championships, the Middle Tennessee women's golf team will be looking to finally break through for a berth into the NCAA Regionals.

In last season's soirée, the Blue Raiders put together a record showing, carding a school-record three-round score of 880, demolishing the previous total by 15 strokes. MT actually led all three days at one point before ultimately falling to Denver, winners of each of the last eight conference titles.

The Blue Raiders will look to continue their good fortune at The Shoals Golf Club this time around, but there are certainly some changes in store. The tournament has switched from The Schoolmaster Course to the renowned Fighting Joe Course.

"We have to be smart with our placement on this course," head coach Chris Adams said. "We've played this course before, and we know that we have to play a little smarter and hit the fairways and middle of the greens all three days to be successful in the end."

Individually, two-time all-conference selection Karisa Akin will look to continue her success at the SBC Championship. Akin fell just short of the low medalist honors a season ago, falling in a playoff to Arkansas State's Anna Carling and finishing just one stroke off of a school record with a one-under 215, a feat she repeated last month in a win at the UALR Golf Classic.

"I'm excited to get out there and compete," Akin said. "This course is different from the Schoolmaster, but I think I can still be successful here. I just need to avoid the mistakes, and hopefully pick up a birdie here and there. I really don't want this to be our last event."

Ashley Haggard and Olivia Love were also a vital part of each of the last two championship events.

"It's nice to have three people coming back that have had success here in the past," Adams explained. "Even though this is a different course, they know what it takes to win here. It's a three-day grind out there, playing hard and never giving up. All three have played in almost every tournament over the past three years, and I have a lot of confidence in them."

Allie Knight and Natalie Chrisopulos are slated to make their debut in the event.

"To have two new people at Conference can be a little bit alarming," Adams said. "But at the same time, even though she's a freshman, Allie's played in every tournament so far this year, and she's playing very well right now. Natalie's had about six days to get back into it after her injury. She strikes the ball about as well as anyone on the team."

MT will begin play on Monday at 9:00 a.m. Live stats will be provided via Golfstat.com, and fans will also be able to follow all the action on Twitter at twitter.com/MTWomensGolf.

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