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April 3, 1997

Tech Women's Golf Team Travels East

Red Raiders Begin Important Stretch, Face Top-Ranked Teams at Invitational

LUBBOCK, Texas - The Texas Tech women's golf team will begin a busy April when the Red Raiders play in their first tournament in almost a month at the Duke Spring Invitational.

The three-day, 54-hole even begins Sunday. The field will include four teams ranked among the top 10: Tennessee (4), Duke (6), North Carolina (8) and Wake Forest (10). Memphis (25), Kentucky (26), James Madison, Longwood College, Methodist, Charleston and Coastal Carolina will also be competing on th par-73, 5,950-yard Duke Golf Course layout.

The Duke Spring Invitational will be the first of three tournaments in consecutive weeks for head coach Jeff Mitchell's 22nd-ranked squad, including the Big 12 Championships April 20-23 at Kansas. In its most-recent competition, Texas Tech finished ninth out of 14 teams last month at the LSU-Fairwood Invitational.

"This tournament is a great opportunity to see how we stack up against some of the strongest teams in the East," Mitchell said. "Most teams, though, have played in more events that Tech. We will catch up with tournaments during each of the next three weeks."

Texas Tech has featured a consistent lineup throughout the season. Senior Tamara Parker, junior Kristin Kight and sophomores Brooke Lawrance and Beth Covington have played in all six previous events in 1996-97. Senior Robyn Phillips will be making her second tournament appearance this season.

"Brook Lawrance and Tamara Parker are continuing to provide consistent play," Mitchell said. "We have had some of our lowest rounds of the year in qualifying for Duke."

After the Duke Invitational, Texas Tech plays at Oklahoma's Susie Maxwell Berning Classic on April 14-15 before traveling to Lawrence, Kan., for the Big 12 Championships. The NCAA West Regional is slated for May 9-11 at Tucson and the NCAA Women's Golf Championship is scheduled for May 21-24 at Ohio State.

"The entire team understands the importance of the next three weeks," Mitchell said. "Currently we are fifth or sixth in the West District. We will have to be very competitive at Duke and at the next two events to maintain that ranking.

"For us, the most important thing is qualifying for NCAA West Regionals. That will be our most important motivation. Duke could be a springboard into Oklahoma and the Big 12."

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