Hannah Arnold will be in the lineup as Tech begins the Big 12 Championships on Friday.
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LUBBOCK, Texas - In the midst of one the best seasons in school history, the 29th-ranked Texas Tech women's golf team aims for its first-ever Big 12 Championship this weekend when the Lady Raiders tee off the conference tournament Friday in Lawrence, Kan.
Tech will be the No. 4 seed in the three-day, 54-hole tournament as the Lady Raiders are paired with No. 3 seed Baylor during Friday's opening round at the Lawrence Country Club. The two teams are scheduled for an 8:40 a.m. tee time.
"We are looking at the Big 12s as just another tournament," Tech head coach JoJo Robertson said. "We don't want to get too excited about it but instead try to accomplish the things we've done all spring and keep our focus on the things that we can control. If our players play well and everyone shows up for all three rounds, we should be just fine."
Tech has proved to be one of the nation's top teams throughout the season with victories at the Texas State Challenge to close the fall and the Mountain View Collegiate in late March. No Tech team since 1995-96 had previously won multiple tournament titles in a season prior to this year.
"Our players have worked hard all season and they've set some lofty goals for themselves. I think they are ready. Our players have worked hard the last six days and we've had great weather, so I think we will be ready to go on Friday."
To do so, Tech will have to navigate a difficult field that consists of four teams in the top 30 of the Golfweek rankings and three more ranked in the top 40. Texas A&M leads the group at No. 16 in the poll, followed in order by Oklahoma State at No. 17 and Baylor at No. 18.
After placing outside the top 10 in three of four seasons prior to her arrival, Robertson led Tech to a fifth-place finish during her inaugural 2009-10 campaign and then a sixth-place showing a year ago.
The third-year head coach will be relying on a group of three juniors and a pair of sophomores as she will use the lineup of Gabby Dominguez, Kim Kaufman, Deborah DeVilla, Beverly Mendoza, and Hannah Arnold.
Two of the top 50 players nationally in the latest Golfweek poll, Dominguez and Kaufman have been instrumental in Tech's success as the juniors have battled for the team's top spot throughout the year. Dominguez, who enters the tournament with six-straight top-10 finishes, leads the Lady Raiders with a 72.3 stroke average that is followed closely by Kaufman's 72.6 average.
DeVilla, meanwhile, is coming off her first career medalist honor as she won the Knights and Pirates Invitational title in early April after shooting 3-under over 54 holes. The junior is currently averaging 75.8 strokes per round.
"Our players have worked hard all season and they've set some lofty goals for themselves," Robertson said. "I think they are ready. Our players have worked hard the last six days and we've had great weather, so I think we will be ready to go on Friday."
The Big 12 Championships are being hosted by the University of Kansas for just the second time in league history as the Jayhawks also held the inaugural event in 1997.
Live scoring of the event will be available at golfstat.com while texastech.com while be on site for daily coverage as well.
Dates: Friday-Sunday, April 27-29
Format: The 2012 Women's Golf Championships will consist of 54 holes; 18 played on Friday, 18 on Saturday and 18 on Sunday. Five players represent each school with the lowest four scores counting toward the team total for each round.
Site: Lawrence Country Club - Lawrence, Kan.
Coarse par and yardage: Par 70, 6,510 yards
Host School: University of Kansas
2011 Champion: Texas
2011 Medalist: Madison Pressel, Texas
Big 12 Championships Field (Golfweek ranking): Texas A&M (16), Oklahoma State (17), Baylor (18), Texas Tech (29), Texas (31), Oklahoma (32), Iowa State (37), Kansas State (79), Missouri (90), Kansas (106).