May 20, 2008 (UPDATED MAY 22) –The Lady Rebel golfers of UNLV began play in the NCAA Finals for only the third time in the history of the program. The Lady Rebels finished 22nd in 2006 and 21st in 2004. And the Rebels are gaining a little national notoriety as Golfweek writer Asher Wildman has picked them as his 'sleeper story' of the event that is being played at the Championship course in New Mexico, site of the 1998 UNLV Men's Golf National Championship. "Who would have thought it? They look relaxed, focused and are accustomed to playing on the West Coast," wrote Wildman on Golfweek.com. now.
The 72-hole tournament will be played over four days, with teams playing 18 holes each day on the par-73 course, culminating with the final round on May 23. The top eight teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams from the three regionals advanced to the NCAA Championships. UNLV made its first trip to the NCAA Championships in 2004, finishing 21st, and two years later the Rebels came in 22nd at the 2006 national event.
Ringler says that there has never been a women's finals with a field as deep as this one, and says that eight teams have a chance of winning the title.
The Rebels qualified for the 2008 NCAA Championships with their third-place finish at the NCAA West Regional, where they shot a team total of 879 (+15). UNLV was led at the regional by Therese Koelbaek, who tied for medalist honors with a three-round total of six-under 210. Koelbaek had rounds of four- and three-under during the tournament, and she became just the second Rebel golfer to earn medalist honors at a NCAA regional event. Sunny Oh was the first, winning the medalist honors at the 2004 NCAA West Regional. Oh was also the first Rebel golfer to play in the NCAA Championships, playing as an individual at the 2003 tournament. Oh finished 11th overall with a total of 301 (+13).
Da Sol Chung has the highest individual finish in UNLV history at the NCAAs, coming in third with a score of 290 (+2) in 2006. All three UNLV trips to the NCAAs have come under head coach Missy Ringler, who has also guided the Rebels to six straight regional tournaments.
THE REBEL LINEUP
Therese Koelbaek, FR
Natasha Krishna, SO
Alejandra Guacaneme, FR
Tonya Choate, SR
Kasi Lee, JR