Women's Golf Opens Spring at Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge

Danielle Gillaspy

Feb. 8, 2013

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MALIBU, Calif. -- The Pepperdine women's golf team begins the spring season at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge in nearby Palos Verdes next week. It's the 14th straight year the Waves have played in the event, and they won it in 2003, 2005 and 2007, while individuals have also been medalists three times. After a great fall season, Grace Na is ranked among the nation's top 10 golfers.

EVENT INFO -- The tournament will be held at the par-71, 6,017-yard Palos Verdes Golf Club in Palos Verdes, Calif. Teams will play 18 holes each day between Monday and Wednesday (Feb. 11-13). Live scoring will be provided at www.golfstat.com.

FIELD -- In addition to Pepperdine, the 16-team field consists of host Ohio State, Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, Colorado, Duke, Florida, Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Texas, UCLA, USC, Wake Forest and Washington.

RANKINGS -- Pepperdine enters the spring at #31 in the Golfweek/Sagarin ratings and #34 by Golfstat. The Waves were receiving votes in the last Golf World/WGCA coaches' poll of the fall ... Individually, Grace Na is #6 nationally by Golfstat and #9 by Golfweek/Sagarin.

PEPPERDINE LINEUP -- Pepperdine will have juniors Danielle Gillaspy (Santa Maria, Calif./St. Joseph's HS) and Grace Na (Alameda, Calif./Alameda HS), sophomores Alina Ching (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) and Somin Lee (Denver, Colo./Overland HS) and freshman Marissa Chow (Honolulu, Hawaii/Iolani HS) in the lineup. Junior Liv Cheng (Auckland, New Zealand/Macleans College) will play as an individual.

ONLINE -- Follow the Pepperdine golf team on Twitter at @wavesgolf or on Facebook at Pepperdine Women's Golf.

NA -- Grace Na has already been rewarded as a two-time All-American honorable mention selection and a two-time WCC Player of the Year in her young career. Now a junior, she has a career stroke average of 73.48, second all-time at Pepperdine. Seventen of her 21 tournaments have resulted in a top-20 finish (with 11 top 10s, including wins at the 2011 Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown, where she tied an NCAA record with a 9-under 63 in the first round, and the 2011 WCC Championships). Also on Pepperdine's career records lists, she's tied for sixth in sub-par rounds (17), tied for ninth in top 10 finishes and tied for ninth in top 20 finishes. During the fall season, Na placed in the top six at all four tournaments and finished at or below par at all of them, good for a stroke average of 71.33.

GOLFWEEK CONFERENCE CHALLENGE -- The Waves became the first two-time winner of the Golfweek Conference Challenge, held at the Red Sky Golf Club in Vail, Colo., in late September. Pepperdine also won the inaugural event in 2009. The Waves, who were the co-leader after the first round and a two-shot leader after the second, ended up winning the tournament by five strokes over UC Davis. The team's 54-hole score of 4-under was the sixth-best figure in program history.

2012-13 HONORS -- Grace Na was named a preseason All-American second teamer by Golfweek and one of the nation's top 50 players to watch by Golf World ... Na was named WCC Player of the Month for September and October (her third and fourth times winning the award) ... Marissa Chow was named one of the nation's top 20 freshmen by Golfweek ... Golfweek magazine named Pepperdine its national team of the week after the win at the Golfweek Conference Challenge.

ROSTER -- Five of six players are returning from last season's team (including four of five from the lineup at the 2012 NCAA Championships), though there isn't a single senior on the Waves' roster this year. One new freshman brings the total number of players back up to six. The breakdown is three juniors, two sophomores and one freshman.

PEPPERDINE GOLF HISTORY -- Under the direction of Laurie Gibbs, who is now in her 20th season as head coach, the last decade-plus has established Pepperdine as one of the nation's top golf programs. The Waves have appeared in the NCAA Championships 11 times in 14 years, with eight top 10 finishes and four top five showings, including a program-best second-place result in 2003. The Waves have won West Coast Conference championships in 14 of the last 15 years, including a current streak of 11 titles that began in 2002. Eleven different players have earned All-American honors a total of 23 times. LPGA Tour players have included Katherine Hull, Lindsey Wright, Tamie Durdin, Nadina (Taylor) Light, Misun Cho, Carolina Llano, Danielle Kang and Taylore Karle. Kang won back-to-back U.S. Amateur Championships in 2010 and 2011. Gibbs has been honored 11 times as the WCC's Coach of the Year, was tabbed the West Region Coach of the Year on two occasions and was selected the 2004-05 National Coach of the Year by Golfweek magazine.

HULL -- Former Pepperdine great and current LPGA veteran Katherine Hull has received multiple honors this past year for her play with the Waves. She was inducted into the Women's Golf Coaches Association Players' Hall of Fame last December, and will be put into the West Coast Conference's Hall of Honor in March. Hull was the 2003 national player of the year and the Dinah Shore Award winner.

ABOUT PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY -- Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won NCAA Division I championships in five different men's sports - one of just 16 schools to have accomplished this feat - and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest enrollment and is the only school not in a major conference. Located in scenic Malibu, Calif., the university overlooks the Pacific Ocean and its campus and athletic facilities are regularly voted among the nation's most beautiful. Pepperdine, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, ranks #54 overall on U.S. News and World Report's list of America's best colleges.



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