Youngblood earns top spot in Sooner lineup for season opener

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No. 23 Oklahoma opens the women’s golf season on Monday at the Minnesota Invitational. The two-day, 54-hole tournament will be played at the par-72, 6,297-yard Prestwick Golf Club in Woodbury, Minn.

The Sooners were a late addition to the tournament field. Oklahoma was originally scheduled to open the season this weekend in Charleston, S.C., but made the decision to withdraw due to Hurricane Dorian.

Oklahoma is coming off a 2018-19 campaign where it posted the second-lowest team stroke average in program history (290.53) and returns four of its five golfers from the Sooners’ postseason lineup.

“We’re excited to get the season started,” said OU head coach Veronique Drouin-Luttrell. “This event has a good field and it’s a great way to begin the year. We’re looking forward to seeing our team compete in tournament action.”

Junior Sydney Youngblood will make her debut in the No. 1 position of the Sooners’ lineup after an impressive showing in the team’s qualifying rounds. She’ll be joined by sophomore Mikhaela Fortuna, freshman Maria Fernanda Martinez, sophomore Libby Winans and junior Kaitlin Milligan.

Winans and Milligan are both aiming to build upon strong 2018-19 seasons, as the duo finished in the top five on OU’s all-time season scoring average list. Milligan averaged a 72.40 while Winans boasted a 72.59.

The Sooners will open the season as part of a 15-team field, facing East Carolina, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Long Beach State, Louisville, Miami, Minnesota, Missouri, Notre Dame, San Francisco, San Jose State, UTSA and Virginia Tech.

The tournament begins with 36 holes of continuous play on Monday followed by the final round on Tuesday. Oklahoma will tee off of the front nine beginning at 9:10 a.m. CT alongside golfers from Minnesota and San Jose State.

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  1. Sydney Youngblood: Making her debut at the top of the Sooner lineup…Saw action in seven tournaments last season, firing a 73.60 stroke average…Claimed 36th place in the NCAA Norman Regional…Carded a career-low 64 (-7) at the Schooner Fall Classic…Competed in all postseason events in 2018, including the NCAA Championships…Finished in 24th place at the 2018 NCAA Regional, shooting a 219 (+3) in Austin, Texas.
  2. Mikhaela Fortuna: Took part in nine events as a freshman with a 74.27 stroke average…Collected three top-20 finishes in her rookie season…Tied for 16th at the Westbrook Invitational…Competed as an individual at the Schooner Fall Classic and posted two rounds in the 60s, finishing in a tie for 14th place.

  3. Maria Fernanda Martinez:
    Making her collegiate debut…Enrolled at Oklahoma last January and redshirted during the spring semester…Came to OU from Veracruz, Mexico.

  4. Libby Winans:
    Broke the program record for lowest season scoring average by a freshman with a 72.59 average…Also owns the OU freshman record for par-or-better rounds with 15…Led the Sooners with a sixth-place finish in the 2019 Big 12 Championship, the highest finish in the tournament by an OU freshman since 2015…Named to the Big 12 All-Tournament Team…Earned her first tournament win at the Clover Cup shooting a 214 (-2)…Tied for fifth in the Moon Golf Invitational to earn her second-best collegiate finish scoring a 211 (-5)…Back-to-back top-ten finishes at the Schooner Fall Classic and Magnolia Invitational.
  5. Kaitlin Milligan: A 2018 All-Big 12 selection…Wrapped up her 2018-19 campaign ranked No. 43 in the national Golfstat rankings and No. 53 in the Golfweek collegiate rankings…Qualified for the 2019 NCAA Championships as an individual after winning the NCAA Norman Regional…Her 2018-19 season stroke average (72.40) is the fourth lowest in program history…Strung together eight straight top-20 finishes from Sept. 30 through March 31, including five in the top 10…Her 117 birdies in 2017-18 were the second most that season by a Division I freshman…Owns the program and Big 12 record for lowest round, firing a 62 (-10) in the first round of the 2018 Westbrook Invitational.

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