No. 14 Cougars head to the NCAA West Regional

Freshman Daphne Vines will play in her first post-season tournament of her college career. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- The 14th-ranked BYU women's golf team is headed to St. George, Utah once again where it will host the

2007 NCAA West Regional on May 10-12 at Entrada at Snow Canyon.

This year marks the Cougars' fourth consecutive appearance at the NCAA West Regional and the sixth in the last seven years. The team just came off a disappointing loss at the MWC tournament where TCU took the title by one-stroke over the Cougars, but BYU is ready to bounce back and earn a berth in the NCAA Championship.

"We've played well all year, we've had a record-breaking season," said BYU head coach Sue Nyhus, "Last week we were reminded once again that every shot counts; it's been burned into our minds and because of this we are prepared, focused and stronger than ever."

The Cougars earned the No. 5 seed and will be one of 21 teams in St. George attempting to earn a spot to play in the NCAA Championship. Three regional tournaments (East, Central and West) will determine the championship field. Regional tournaments are considered preliminary rounds of NCAA championship competition. The top eight teams and two individuals will advance from each region to the championship finals held at the LPGA International Golf Course in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Last year the Cougars were the No. 11 seed and earned a 10th-place finish, just six shots short of making it to the finals. It was a different story two years ago, at the 2005 NCAA West Regional in New Mexico, where the Cougars finished in sixth place and earned their spot to the NCAA Championship for the first time in 20 years. They hope to earn their spot in the finals once again this year to make their second appearance in 23 years.

The tournament features four teams ranked in the top ten, led by first-ranked Arizona State along with No. 4 Pepperdine, No. 8 Florida and No. 10 Oklahoma State. Conference rivals UNLV (No. 45) and New Mexico (No. 17) will join BYU (No. 14), while MWC champion TCU (No. 23) is headed to the Central Regional in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

This tournament will be the third consecutive event that BYU hosts at Entrada at Snow Canyon Golf Club. For the past two years, BYU's home tournament and their conference championship have been at Entrada. However this is the first time a NCAA West Regional will be held at the par 71,Johnny Miller Signature Golf Course. It challenges the golfers with narrow fairways and holes lined with lava rock.

The Cougars will tee off at 8:58 am on Thursday and are paired with Oklahoma St. and Stanford for the first round. Follow the action live on golfstat.com