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No. 5 Pepperdine Opens Play at PING/ASU Invitational on Friday

March 28, 2006

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The nationally-ranked Pepperdine women's golf team continues its spring schedule later this week when it opens play at the PING / Arizona State Invitational at the ASU Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Arizona.

The 54-hole tournament opens on Friday with 18 holes and will continues with 18 holes on Saturday and Sunday at the par-72, 6,230-yard Karsten Golf Course. The complete tournament can be followed live on the Internet at www.golfstat.com.

THE FIELD: The 16-team field includes Arizona, host Arizona State, Long Beach State, Missouri, Oregon, Oregon State, Pepperdine, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M, Tulsa, UCLA, UNLV, USC, Washington and Washington State. A total of nine teams - UCLA (2), Arizona State (3), Pepperdine (5), USC (6), UNLV (10), Texas A&M (17), Stanford (19), Arizona (21) and Long Beach State (22) - are ranked in Golfstat's Top 25.

Pepperdine is competing in the ASU / PING Arizona State Invitational for the third consecutive year. The Waves finished third in last year's event, placing behind the host Sun Devils and UCLA, who tied for first with a three-round total of 870. Pepperdine carded a 54-hole score of 888. Arizona State's Louise Stahle claimed individual medalist honors with a 7-under par score of 209. Carolina Llano was the top individual for the Waves, tying for ninth place with a 4-over par total of 220.

LAST TIME OUT: Pepperdine was last in action at the Santa Clara Colby Invitational where it claimed the team title with a 43-shot victory over second-place UC Riverside. The Waves carded a 36-hole total of 17-over par 589. The win marked 13th-year head coach Laurie Gibbs' 25th tournament win. Junior All-American Eileen Vargas won individual medalist honors with an even-par score of 143.

FALL RECAP: Pepperdine enjoyed a solid fall campaign as it registered four Top 5 showings in four tournaments. The Waves started off the year in impressive fashion as they captured the Branch Law / Dick McGuire Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico, posting a two-shot win over Texas A&M. Junior Eileen Vargas claimed individual medalist honors with an 8-under par 211 to finish two shots ahead of teammate Carolina Llano. Pepperdine followed that performance with another win at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational in Sammamish, Washington. The Waves edged Arizona State by one shot, totaling a 54-hole score of 891. Playing in arguably one of the strongest fields of any tournament during the fall season, Pepperdine turned in a fourth-place showing at the Stanford Pepsi Intercollegiate before concluding play with a third-place finish at the Las Vegas Founders Women's Collegiate.

Individually, Vargas led Pepperdine in the fall as she registered a 71.92 stroke average and was named a Mid-Season All-American by Golf World. Llano posted a 73.25 stroke average while sophomore Leanne Bowditch recorded a 73.33 stroke average.

A LOOK AT THE RANKINGS: Pepperdine is No. 5 in the most recent Golfstat rankings and No. 7 by Golfweek.

INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS: Junior All-American Eileen Vargas is currently ranked No. 6 by Golfstat and No. 11 by Golfweek.

PLAYING THE BEST: As one of the top Division I women's golf programs in the country, Pepperdine continually plays one of the most challenging schedules in the nation. This year's schedule is ranked the sixth-strongest in the country.

PEPPERDINE NO. 8 OVER LAST SIX YEARS: Pepperdine, which has advanced to the NCAA Championships in five of the past six years, is ranked No. 8 nationally according to Golfweek, which combined its Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings for the past six years. Duke, the defending national champion is No. 1 in the rankings. The entire Top 10 includes: 1) Duke 2) Arizona 3) Auburn 4) USC, 5) UCLA 6) Oklahoma State 7) Georgia 8) Pepperdine 9) Texas 10) Tennessee.

WCC CHAMPIONS: The Waves captured their fourth straight West Coast Conference (WCC) Championship and seventh in the last eight years after posting a 46-shot victory over second place San Francisco at the Saddle Creek Golf Course in Copperopolis, California, on April 12, 2005.

Llano won individual medalist honors for the third straight year after registering a six-shot victory over freshman teammate Marina Choi. Llano was named the WCC's "Golfer of the Year" while Choi was selected "Freshman of the Year" and Gibbs was tabbed "Coach of the Year."

Llano, Choi, senior Rachel Kyono, freshman Leanne Bowditch and sophomore Eileen Vargas all finished in the Top 5 and were selected All-WCC.

THE PROGRAM: The Pepperdine women's golf program is in its 21st 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 seven 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 seven of the last eight league titles, including 2005. 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 13th 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 six Top 15 finishes at the NCAA Championships in the last seven 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 and 2005. Gibbs was tabbed the league's "Coach of the Year" in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2005. 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.

SPORTS INFORMATION HOTLINE: For updated information concerning Pepperdine athletics, including results and a schedule of upcoming events, please contact the Pepperdine Sports Information Hotline at 310-506-7373. The hotline will be updated on a regular basis throughout the course of the 2005-06 school year.

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: http://www.PepperdineSports.com.

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.