After winning a nation-leading 10 tournaments, including both the Lone Star Conference and West Region events, Tarleton State needs just one more big finish.
For the second consecutive year, the TexAnns are among the eight teams across the country that will converge at the NCAA Spring Championships Festival to determine the national golf champion.
The four-round Division II Women's Golf Championships tees off Tuesday and continues through Friday at Memorial Park in Houston. In addition to Tarleton, the field also includes West Region runner-up Western Washington. From other regions, Ferris State and Grand Valley State represent the East, Augustana and Nebraska-Omaha advanced from the North and Nova Southeastern and Rollins made it out of the South.
Tarleton, which is tied with D3 Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio for the most collegiate victories at any level (men or women), will try to improve on its fifth place finish at last year's event.
Leading the way this season for the TexAnns is back-to-back West Region individual champ Shraddhanjali Singh. Singh, a sophomore from India, was LSC Player of the Year in 2007 and finished as the individual runner-up at the 2008 conference tournament before winning her second regional title. She was also named 2008 LSC Academic Player of the Year.
Others competing for Tarleton include freshman Carla Cooper from Arlington, sophomore Andrea Lowe of Joshua, freshman Melanie Tham from Malaysia and Stephenville native Maury Shock, also a freshman.
Oftentimes with such a young roster, the pressure of a national championship event becomes a concern. Not so for Tarleton coach Jerry Doyle.
"We have three freshmen and two sophomores, but I'm not worried," Doyle said in an interview with tarletonsports.com. "Even though we only have one returner (Singh) who went to the national tournament last year, I don't think the lack of experience is going to bother us because pressure doesn't seem to bother these girls. They respond to it well."
The TexAnns certainly responded well at the regional event at Legacy Golf Resort in Phoenix, Ariz. last week.
Shock improved 11 strokes on the final day of the event, and Singh and Cooper each played the final three holes in one under par to come from behind for the four-stroke victory. The round of 291 stands as a new school record.
Singh was three strokes off the individual title entering the final 18 holes, but the pressure certainly didn't get to her. She posted the best individual round of the tournament with a score of 69, winning the event by three shots.
According to golfstat.com on the Web, with stats up to the conclusion of the LSC tournament, the TexAnns have as good a shot as any at the national event.
Tarleton has an adjusted scoring average of 77.68 strokes, third among Elite Eight qualifiers. Rollins averages 76.07, while Nova Southeastern stands at 76.15. No team in the field comes close to Tarleton's win total. Grand Valley has won five events, while Ferris State and Nova Southeastern both have four wins.
An 11th win for the TexAnns would mean school history not only in golf, but in athletics as a whole. Tarleton has had men's basketball teams reach both the Elite Eight and the Final Four, as well as four Sweet 16 berths in the last six years. The football team reached the national quarterfinals in 2001, and the tennis team went to the Sweet 16 last year and has qualified for six straight regionals. None have won national titles.
The TexAnns are just that close - perhaps only four rounds from forever being inscribed in the Tarleton history books.
The school's first national title is right there - just one final big finish away.