No. 3 Pepperdine Opens Play at Inaugural UCF Challenge on Monday

March 2, 2007

Malibu, Calif. -

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Continuing its preparation for a run toward the national championships, the nationally-ranked Pepperdine women's golf team will be in action early next week when it opens play in the inaugural UCF Challenge at the Villas at Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, Florida.

LIVESCORING: The UCF Challenge can be followed live on the Internet at

THE COURSE: The Villas at Grand Cypress Resort's North-South Course is a par-72 and measures out at 6,223 yards. The 54-hole tournament format calls for 36 holes on Monday and the final 18 holes to be played on Tuesday. Play gets underway each day with an 5 a.m. (PST) shot-gun start.

THE FIELD: The 13-team field includes Alabama, Arkansas (23), Duke (4), Florida (19), Georgia (1), LSU (26), New Mexico (16), Ohio State (27), Pepperdine (3), Purdue (12), SMU, Central Florida and Vanderbilt (6). Eleven of the 13 teams in the field are ranked in the latest Golfweek Top 30 poll, while four are ranked in the Top 10. The Waves are ranked No. 3 both Golfweek and Golfstat.

The UCF Challenge will make history as the medalist from the event will receive a sponsor's exemption to play in the LPGA's Sybase Classic on May 14-20 in Clifton, N.J. According to Octagon Golf, the management group for the classic, this is the first time the winner of a collegiate event will receive an exemption to a LPGA tour event.

LAST TIME OUT: Pepperdine tied for fifth at the Arizona Wildcat Invitational last week. The Waves posted a 54-hole total of 45-over par 897 to tie New Mexico. Arizona State captured the 15-team tournament that included 12 teams ranked in Golfweek's Top 30, including seven in the Top 10. The Sun Devils recorded a score of 16-over par 868 to register an eight-shot victory over Duke (876). Duke's Amanda Blumenherst captured individual medalist honors with a 3-under par score of 210. Pepperdine freshman Misun Cho continued her fine play as she tied for 11th with a total of 6-over par 219.

CHO NAMED TO MID-SEASON ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM: Rookie Misun Cho was one of six players named to Golf World's Mid-Season All-Freshman Team. Cho is currently No. 18 in the latest Golfstat rankings.

PEPPERDINE INKS TOP RECRUIT: Taylore Karle, the No. 2-ranked player by Golfweek, the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) and Junior Golf Scoreboard, has signed a national letter-of-intent to attend Pepperdine, women's head coach Laurie Gibbs announced. She will enroll in Pepperdine next fall. A resident of Scottsdale, Arizona, Karle is a two-time first team AJGA Rolex Junior All-American, receiving the honor in 2005 and 2006. Over the course of the last two and half years, Karle has won six AJGA tournaments and had four second place finishes. Karle led the U.S. Junior Team to a third place finish in the prestigious Honda International Junior Tournament in Japan this past October. Her rounds counted in each of the three team scores and her second-round 70 was the low individual round of the day and included a hole-in-one on the 15th hole.

PEPPERDINE REPRESENTED AT WORLD AMATEUR TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS: Boasting an international line-up, the Pepperdine women's golf team was well-represented at the World Amateur Team Championships in South Africa. Senior Eileen Vargas and former All-American Carolina Llano led Colombia to a third place finish in the event that concluded on October 21. Llano fired a final-round 6-under 66 while Vargas posted a 2-under total of 72 to help Colombia finish one shot behind South Africa and Sweden, who tied for first at 10-under par 566 in the 72-hole event. Junior Stephanie Gelleni (Venezuela) and former Waves player Maria Cristina Arenas (Guatemala) also competed in the tournament.

Eileen Vargas TABBED PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN: Senior Eileen Vargas, who tied for fourth at the 2006 NCAA Championships and received second team All-American honors, was tabbed a preseason All-American by both Golfweek and Golf World. Vargas concluded the 2005-06 campaign with a team-best 73.00 stroke average.

Misun Cho RECEIVES RECOGNITION: Misun Cho, who enjoyed a standout junior career in Australia, was selected as one of the country's top freshmen to watch during the 2006-07 season by Golfweek. She was ranked as the fifth-best freshman.

2005-06 SEASON HONORS: Jayvie Agojo was named the West Coast Conference (WCC) Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year while joining teammates Carolina, Eileen Vargas and sophomores Leanne Bowditch and Marina Choi as All-WCC selections. Agojo became the fifth straight Waves player to win WCC individual medalist honors. Head coach Laurie Gibbs was tabbed the conference's Coach of the Year for the seventh time in her career. Vargas, who led after the first three rounds of the NCAA Championships, was selected a second team All-American while Llano received honorable mention All-American recognition and was named an Academic All-American.

PEPPERDINE PROGRAM RANKED NO. 10: Head coach Laurie Gibbs' women's team, which finished third at the 2006 NCAA Division I Championships in May, has catapulted the Pepperdine women's golf program into one of country's Top 10, according to a poll by Golf Digest. The rankings and College Golf Guide package provides a blueprint for high school students with dreams of playing golf in college and professionally ("Golf First" ranking), as well as students focused on education who still desire to play competitive golf ("Academics First" ranking). The five criteria form the basis of the rankings: a college golf team's adjusted scoring average, player growth while on the team, academics, climate and coaches/facilities. Using the above criteria, Pepperdine was ranked No. 10. Since 1998, the Pepperdine women's golf team has won eight West Coast Conference (WCC) titles, advanced to the NCAA Championships seven times and five different players have received All-American honors a total of 12 times, including Katherine Hull, who was a three-time All-American and selected the 2003 "College Player of the Year."

THE PROGRAM: The Pepperdine women's golf program begins its 22nd season of intercollegiate play. Women's golf was added as an intercollegiate sport at Pepperdine prior to the start of the 1985-86 school year. The Waves burst on to the national scene during the 1998-99 campaign, advancing to the NCAA Championships for the first time where the team earned an impressive fifth place finish. Pepperdine kept the positive momentum going in 2000, finishing eighth at the NCAA Championships. Tamie Durdin earned All-American honors from the National Golf Coaches Association in 2000, becoming the first Pepperdine player to earn such distinction. Lindsey Wright was an honorable mention All-American pick. The Waves placed 14th at the NCAA Championships in 2001, and sophomores Katherine Hull and Lindsey Wright were both second team All-Americans. Pepperdine put together another solid season in 2002 tying for ninth place at the NCAA Championships. Hull and Wright were again tabbed All-Americans and Wright tied for second in the individual standings. The duo led Pepperdine to unprecedented heights in 2003, leading the Waves to a second place finish at the NCAA Championships. They were both tabbed All-Americans and Hull was chosen as the "National Golfer of the Year" by the NGCA. In 2005, Pepperdine finished fourth at the NCAA Championships and junior Carolina Llano and sophomore Eileen Vargas were selected team and honorable mention All-Americans, respectively. The Waves have been consistently ranked in the Top 20 nationally each of the last nine seasons. The West Coast Conference (WCC) began sponsoring a women's golf championship for the first time in 1997, and Pepperdine finished second at the inaugural event behind San Francisco. The Waves have won eight of the last nine league titles, including the 2006 WCC Championships. Candida Kim was the first Pepperdine golfer to compete at the NCAA West Regional Championships, as she earned an at-large berth to the 1995 event. In 1998, Jenny Glasgow became just the second Pepperdine golfer to earn such distinction, competing in the NCAA West Regional Championships at the Stanford Golf Course.

LAURIE GIBBS: Laurie Gibbs, a former teaching professional at the Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles, is in her 14th season as Pepperdine's head women's golf coach. Gibbs played collegiate golf at Long Beach State, and previously worked for three years as a PGA teaching professional at the Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles. Gibbs has directed the Waves to seven Top 15 finishes at the NCAA Championships in the last eight years, including a best-ever second place finish at the 2003 NCAA Championships. Pepperdine won three consecutive West Coast Conference championships from 1998-2000 and has captured titles in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. Gibbs was tabbed the league's "Coach of the Year" in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006. Additionally, Gibbs was selected the 1999 Far West Region "Coach of the Year" by the National Golf Coaches Association and received "Co-Coach of the Year" honors by the organization in 2003. She has twice been selected the University's "Coach of the Year", garnering the award in 1998-99 and 2002-03. After leading the Waves to a fourth-place finish at the 2005 NCAA Championships, Gibbs was tabbed the "National Coach of the Year" by Golfweek.

ON THE WEB: For updated information concerning Pepperdine athletics on the Internet, including results and a schedule of upcoming events, please bookmark the following address:

FOR MORE INFORMATION: For additional information on the women's golf program, or to arrange interviews with players and the coaching staff, please contact Al Barba at the Pepperdine Sports Information Office by calling (310) 506-4455.



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