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NICEVILLE, Fla. - The 2004 Sun Belt Conference Men's and Women's Golf

Championships will begin Monday at Bluewater Bay Resort.

The tournament, which features 10 men's teams and 10 women's teams vying for

the league's automatic bid to NCAA Regional play, returns to Niceville for

the third straight year.

Last year, the North Texas men's squad and New Mexico State's women rolled

to victory. NMSU's win marked the third straight team title for the Aggies.

This year's event figures to be one of the most competitive in recent


Four men's teams are ranked in the top 100 in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin

Performance Index, while five women's teams crack the top 100.

Individually, five Sun Belt men's players have a scoring average of 72.78 or

better, including South Alabama All-American candidate Gareth Mabyin. Mabyin

has won three individual titles this year and sports a league-best 71.29


On the women's side, Denver freshman Emily Hoeper paces the Sun Belt with a

75.10 average.


WHAT: 2004 Sun Belt Conference Men's and Women's Golf Championships

WHEN: April 19-21, 2004

WHERE: Niceville, Fla. (Bluewater Bay Resort)

MEDIA RELATIONS CONTACT (on-site): Rob Broussard

Director of Media Relations

Cell Phone: 504-628-3895

e-mail: broussard@sunbeltsports.org

COURSES: The men play the Lake and Marsh Courses (6,857 yards - par-72)

The women play the Bay and Magnolia Courses (5,910 yards - par 72)

TEAMS COMPETING (men): UALR, Arkansas State, Denver, UL Lafayette, Middle

Tennessee, New Mexico State, New Orleans, North Texas, South Alabama,

Western Kentucky

TEAM COMPETING (women): UALR, Arkansas State, Denver, Florida International,

Middle Tennessee, New Mexico State, New Orleans, North Texas, South Alabama,

Western Kentucky

2003 Men's Team Champion: North Texas (team score 862, -2 overall)

2003 Women's Team Champion: New Mexico State (team score 891, +27)

2003 Men's Indiv Medalist: Brad Besler, North Texas (69-68-72 - 209, -7


2003 Women's Indiv. Medalist: Alena Sharp, New Mexico State (72-71-73-, E


How to Obtain Results: Results will be e-mailed to each school's Golf SID

following the completion of play. Results should be e-mailed anywhere from

4-5 p.m. CT each day and will be posted on the Sun Belt Website

(www.sunbeltsports.org). Click on the Sun Belt Conference Golf Championships

page for updated information.


Rich Beem (2003 PGA Champion, New Mexico State)

Pat Bradley (LPGA Hall of Fame, Florida International)

Craig Perks (2002 Players Champion, Louisiana-Lafayette)

Kenny Perry (Western Kentucky)

Alena Sharp (2003 Sun Belt Conference Female Student-Athlete of the Year,

New Mexico State)

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From the SunBelt website:

North Texas Men, Denver Women Lead at Sun Belt Golf Championships

Beautiful weather greets golfers at Niceville resort course

April 19th, 2004


Women's Results — Men's Results

NICEVILLE, Fla. – North Texas head coach Jim Bob Jackson knows the formula for success at Bluewater Bay Resort is pretty simple.

So while the Mean Green have faced adversity in the form of injuries and inconsistent play throughout the year, UNT put it together Monday with a 2-over par 290 team score – giving the defending champions the first-round lead at the 2004 Sun Belt Conference Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships.

“The key to success here is to stay away from the big numbers because they can come in a hurry,” Jackson said of the 6,866-yard layout filled with tight fairways and seemingly infinite places for disaster.

”We’ve had an up-and-down semester, but I think we saw the light at the end of the tunnel last week. Coming here to a course that fits our eye well is also a big plus.”

On the women’s side, the University of Denver fired a 14-over par 302 team score to take the first-round edge. The Pioneers have a one-shot lead over New Mexico State, which is vying for its fourth straight league title. (Denver's Emily Hoeper, pictured)

Meanwhile, the surprise of the day came from the Arkansas State Lady Indians, led by Candace Pasechnik. The junior carded an even-par 72 and holds a one-stroke lead over UALR’s Linda Svensson in the individual medalist race.

Pasechnik’s efforts vaulted ASU into third place (310 team score) and put the Lady Indians into contention with two days left.

“It was really fun and a thrill to watch Candace shoot a 72 today,” said ASU head coach Chris Adams. “She really played her heart out today, and this can’t do anything but help her confidence for the next two rounds. I’m very proud of her.”

On the men’s side, South Alabama’s Colin Speirs shot a 4-under 68 to take the individual lead. North Texas’ Zach Atkinson and New Mexico State’s Danny Bowen both recorded 70s, while NMSU’s Ben Kreger rounded out the four players under par with a 1-under 71.

NMSU and South Alabama are two shots behind North Texas, while Louisiana-Lafayette is in fourth at 297.

“The quality of players out here is a big plus for the conference,” Jackson said of the league, which saw an All-American candidate (USA’s Gareth Maybin) and a 2003 U.S. Amateur Round of 16 participant (UNT’s Atkinson) paired together Monday.

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