Women's golf prepared for 23rd consecutive NCAA Regional

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Kyle Hansen | The Daily Wildcat

Lindsey Weaver of the Arizona women's golf team follows through on a swing during Arizona's second-place finish at the Wildcat Invitational on March 17, 2015 at Sewailo Golf Club. Weaver and the Wildcats will head to the NCAA Regionals on May 5. 

Arizona women’s golf will compete in its 23rd consecutive NCAA Regional Championship on Thursday in South Bend, Ind.

Notre Dame is the host of the regional, and the three-day tournament will be held at Warren Golf Course. This will be the eighth consecutive season the Fighting Irish have hosted a regional championship.

Arizona will have to finish in the top six in the regional to advance to the NCAA Championships in Bradenton, Fla. The No. 4-ranked Wildcats, according to golfstat.com, will be the No. 1 seed and will have a handful of teams breathing down their necks.

The Notre Dame regional will include No. 5 Duke, No. 12 Oklahoma State, No. 13 Wake Forest, No. 20 UC Davis, No. 23 Pepperdine, Tulane, Notre Dame, Purdue, Kent State, Louisville, San Jose State, North Carolina, Kentucky, Harvard, Troy, Eastern Kentucky and Youngstown State.

Duke is looking to defend its national title, and finishing ahead of the Wildcats would be a huge confidence booster for the Blue Devils. Arizona is familiar with Duke after the Wildcats finished ahead of the Blue Devils at the PING/ASU Invitational.

Even though the Wildcats were hoping to stay on the West Coast for the NCAA Regional, sophomore Wanasa Zhou didn’t show any care for where the Wildcats would land prior to the selection show last week.

“I would like to stay on this side of the country, but we’re playing great together as a team no matter where the course is,” Zhou said. “We hope to stay close to home, but at the same time, it won’t affect our golf.”

Arizona has made this season a campaign to remember, but the Wildcats will need to execute in May to really make the 2015 season a year that will go down in program history.

“We definitely have a lot of work to do to be able to catch up to those who have created the women’s golf history here at Arizona, but I definitely think our team has the talent,” Zhou said. “After three wins, we have more trust in each other. We have great team chemistry, and we are the type of team where if one of us is having an off day and we don’t perform as well, we’ll still have their back.”

The Wildcats traveling to the Chicago area will also be a homecoming for junior Lindsey Weaver, who played at Notre Dame her freshman season and was decorated with awards in the Big East.

Weaver earned Big East Player of the Year and was named to the All-Big East First Team. In the fall of her freshman year, Weaver ended the season as the No. 1-ranked golfer in the country.

“I’m excited to go back to Notre Dame,” Weaver said. “I do know that the course can get pretty hard, and the greens are sometimes tricky, but I think I will be able to give my team some helpful tips heading into regionals.”

Arizona coach Laura Ianello captured her second conference title as the leader of the Wildcats and will attempt to earn an accomplishment that she achieved when she played at Arizona: a national championship.

This is definitely a possibility for the Wildcats, but Arizona will have to play even better golf than the successful months of March and April.

“We feel pretty confident and ready to roll,” Ianello said.

The 2015 NCAA Regional will tee off at 11:09 a.m. on Thursday and run through Saturday.

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