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No. 7 Pepperdine Opens Play at NCAA Central Regional on Thursday

May 8, 2006

Malibu, Calif. -

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The Pepperdine women's golf team, ranked No. 7 in the latest Golfstat rankings, earned the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Central Regional and will travel to Bryan, Texas, where they will compete at the Traditions Club at Texas A&M beginning Thursday, May 11.

The tournament format calls for 18 holes to be played Thursday through Saturday at the par-72, 6,289-yard Traditions Course. All the action can be followed live on the Internet at www.golfstat.com.

The Central Regional also includes top-seed and No. 1-ranked Duke along with second seed and No. 5 USC. The Waves will be pair with the Blue Devils and Trojans in Thursday's opening round and are scheduled to begin play at 6:30 a.m. (PDT).

Three regional tournaments will be conducted May 11-13 to determine the championships field. A total of 324 participants have been selected for the regional competition. Of these players, 126 will advance to the championships finals May 23-26. Eight teams and two individuals will advance from each region.

Led by head coach Laurie Gibbs and junior Eileen Vargas, Pepperdine enters regional play seeking its seventh NCAA Championships appearance in the last eight years.

The Waves finished fourth at last year's NCAA East Regional in Gainesville, Florida, and advanced to their sixth NCAA Championships where they finished fourth at the Sunriver Resort Meadows Course in Sunriver, Oregon.

Pepperdine's best-ever showing at the regionals came in 2002 when it tied for first place at the NCAA West Regionals. In 2003, the Waves placed fourth at the Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Arizona, and went on to the nationals where they finished second.

Pepperdine will play a practice round on Wednesday, May 10 beginning at 6:04 a.m. (PDT) before opening tournament play on Thursday.

The championships finals will be held at the Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio, where Ohio State is serving as host.

LAST TIME OUT: Pepperdine claimed its fifth straight West Coast Conference (WCC) title and eighth overall on April 17 after registering a 25-shot victory over San Francisco at the Saddle Creek Golf Course in Copperopolis, California. The Waves carded a 54-hole score of 899. The Dons finished with a 924 total. Freshman Jayvie Agojo became the fifth straight Pepperdine player to claim individual medalist honors after posting a 5-over par 211 to record a two-shot victory over teammate and three-time WCC champion Carolina Llano, who finished at 7-over par 213. Agojo was named the WCC's Player and Freshman of the Year while Llano, junior Eileen Vargas and sophomores Leanne Bowditch and Marina Choi were named All-WCC. Head coach Laurie Gibbs was tabbed the conference's Coach of the Year for the seventh time in her career.

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.

INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS: Junior All-American Eileen Vargas is currently ranked No. 12 by Golfstat and No. 14 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 also has continued to perform well against the nation's best as it has a streak of 19 consecutive Top 10 finishes, including 17 Top 5 showings.

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.

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 eight 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 this season. 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, 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: 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.