Eagles Prepare for 2011 Cowgirl Classic

Eastern will preview Big Sky Championship teams and course this weekend in sunny Arizona

Click HERE for more info on the 2011 Cowgirl Classic

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It is not the official Big Sky Championship, but it's as close as it gets.

On Monday and Tuesday (April 4-5), the Eastern Washington University women's golf team will compete at the 2011 Cowgirl Classic at the Ocotillo Golf Resort in Chandler, Ariz. This event will be a perfect preview of the Big Sky tournament in two weeks, not only because it is held on the same course as the championship, but all nine teams in the league will be in attendance.

The Cowgirl Classic is a 54-hole tournament hosted by the University of Wyoming. A total of 23 teams from 10 different conferences will be competing at Ocotillo. Last season, Northern Arizona and Portland State both finished in the top five at the event, while Eastern finished 21st out of 23 teams.

"This is a competitive tournament, and will certainly be a nice preview for us before the conference championship," said EWU head coach Brenda Howe. "But mostly, I just want the team to get used to playing in this weather and get adjusted to these course conditions."

The Eagles have played in two tournaments thus far in the 2011 spring season, both of which were in extremely harsh conditions. Eastern took 16th at the Red Rocks Invitational on Feb. 26 with a total score of 677 (331-346). The Eagles finished in eighth place at the Lamkin Grip/Cal Poly Challenge last week with a two-round total of 681 (342-339). After enduring rain, wind and wet grass in both of its previous events, EWU is looking forward to finally playing in a sunny, warm climate.

"The forecast in Chandler predicts clear skies with temperatures in the high 80s to 90s," said Howe, with a smile. "Weather has definitely been the battle this spring. We were finally able to get in a good, solid week of practice, and we are excited to carry that on to a dry, green course and lose the layers of clothing."

The Eagles have competed at the Cowgirl Classic in Ocotillo in each of the last three seasons. In 2008, Eastern won the team title with a cumulative effort of 912 (309-302-301). Senior Kellie Holmstedt was a member of that winning squad, as she finished 13th overall as a freshman with an impressive score of 231 (76-78-77). Former Eagle golfer, Kristina Gargaro, won the individual trophy that year when she shot just five over par for a final score of 221 (80-72-69).

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