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Feb. 23, 1997

Texas Tech Opens 1997 Spring Campaign

Red Raiders travel to California to face tough field

MENIFEE, Calif. -- The Texas Tech women's golf team begins what will hopefully be another trek to the NCAA Women's Golf Championships when head coach Jeff Mitchell's squad begins the spring season here on Monday in the Pioneer Electronics Classic.

Tech, coming off a 12th-place finish last season in the NCAA's, will be one of four Big 12 Conference golf teams competing on the par-72, 6,087-yard layout at the Menifee Lakes (Calif.) Country Club. Tech joins Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas in the 54-hole event hosted by UCLA.

"The team is very excited about playing again finally after a long absence from the fall," Mitchell said. "We've had some real good practices. I think the team has been playing some solid golf."

The Red Raiders won one of their four tournaments in the fall - the season-opening Chip'N Club at Nebraska - and finished eighth in the Big 12 Fall Preview. Sophomore Brooke Lowrance led the team with a 78.2 stroke average. Sophomore Beth Covington was second at 78.4 and senior Tamara Parker third at 79.1. Lowrance, Parker and junior Kristen Kight are returning letter winners from last season's NCAA squad.

Other teams in the field include UCLA, Arizona State, BYU, California, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Oregon, Oregon State, Pepperdine, San Diego State, Stanford, Tulsa, USC and Washington.

"We've got a great field at this tournament," Mitchellsaid. "I think everybody is really anticipating some great golf. It's quite a challenge to this team as far as playing in such a strong field. I feel like they will respond to that challenge."

The tournament begins with 36 holes on Monday and concludes with 18 over the final round on Tuesday. Parker leads the Red Raiders in their first action of the spring. Kight, Lowrance, senior Robyn Phillips and Lubbock freshman Alana Soliz round out the Texas Tech lineup.

"Tamara Parker finished low in qualifying, which actually is the first time she's won qualifying since she's been at Tech," Mitchell noted. "Kristen Kight finished second and is playing well. I know Brooke Lowrance will come in and have a strong performance after a great spring last year and a pretty solid fall as well."

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