published Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Go west, UTC women's golfers

There aren't many championship golf courses in the continental United States that are farther from Chattanooga than the Tumble Creek Course at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum, Wash.

But the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's golf team learned Monday evening that's where it's going for an NCAA regional tournament. Colette Murray's Mocs have been slotted as the No. 20 seed in the West Regional.

"I never would have imagined that we'd be sent to Washington, but it's exciting," senior Jordan Britt said. "None of us even put Washington into consideration. We thought we'd be sent to Oklahoma or Florida.

"Everybody was in shock, but still excited."

The Mocs will play their first round of the three-day, 54-hole tournament on May 9. The top eight teams and top individual from each regional advance to the NCAA championship tournament May 21-24 at Tulsa (Okla.) Country Club.

"When I saw the first 18 teams out West, I thought, 'This is where I want to go,'" Murray said. "We've seen some of those teams seeded 8 through 15 and we've beaten them.

"If we play well, we could do OK."

Tumble Creek -- the only private course of the three at Suncadia -- is about 80 miles southeast of Seattle and about 45 miles away from Mount Rainier.

"I played out there a couple years ago when we were recruiting [former player] Maria Juliana Loza," Murray said. "It's a hard golf course. I like our chances there."

The top of the field is stout, in Murray's opinion, but then it drops off, which could help UTC advance.

Southern California, the defending national champion, is the top seed in the West, followed by Arizona State, Oklahoma, Washington and Clemson. Tennessee is No. 19 and New Mexico is No. 21 in the 24-team field.

"Here," Murray said, "I want to believe that we can finish in the top eight."

UTC, which earned an automatic berth for winning the Southern Conference championship, will be playing in its sixth consecutive NCAA women's regional. But the Mocs have reached the finals only once, in 2009 when they advanced from the Central Regional.

They'd like to play for it all once again.

"It's more than doable," said Britt, who will be joined by former Signal Mountain teammate Sarah Dolmovich, who qualified into the starting lineup over another teammate. "We've all shot good scores this semester, and if we can do it all together for three days, we can advance."

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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