By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - The USF women's golf team is coming off a season that included a Big East title and a trip to NCAA Regionals. The sweet taste of success has the Bulls hungry for much more.
USF has released a 2012-13 schedule that's described as the most difficult it's been since sixth-year head coach Marci Kornegay became a Bull and it's arguably one of the best slates in the program's history.
View the entire schedule HERE.
"We need to start playing teams that are ranked ahead of us, start playing top 50 teams to really compete and know that we can compete with them at a national level. This schedule is going to do that for us," said Kornegay, last season's Big East coach of the year.
The Bulls kick off their new campaign Sept. 10-12 at The Waverly in Starkeville, Miss. in an event hosted by Mississippi State.
"The Old Waverly Golf Course is a great venue. They've had several USGA events there and the LPGA used to be out there," Kornegay said.
Action continues Sept. 24-26 at The GolfWeek Conference Challenge in Wolcott, Colo., at the Red Sky Golf Club. GolfWeek has selected and invited one team from each conference to participate in the event.
"It's huge. We're playing against the top one, two and three teams in the country," Kornegay said.
The Bulls will travel to Norman, Okla., for the Suzie Maxwell Berning Classic Oct. 15-17 and they'll finish their fall slate at the Edwin Watts/Palmetto Intercollegiate Oct. 28-29 in Kiawah Island, S.C.
"We're looking forward to finishing the fall schedule on a tournament that I'd love to go up there and win," Kornegay said.
USF will get a healthy helping of strong in-state competition in the first three tournaments of the spring. The Bulls will host the Florida Challenge Jan. 28 at the Black Diamond Golf Club in Lecanto, Fla. The top five schools in Florida will participate in the one day event.
"I'm really excited about getting that going. It's going one of the very first dates of competition out of all the schools," Kornegay said.
The Bulls will take on more tough opponents at the UCF Challenge Feb. 10-12 in Sorrento, Fla., before heading up to Gainesville for the Lady Gator Intercollegiate March 15-17.
USF will compete in the Briar's Creek Intercollegiate, a new tournament, March 25-26 in Charleston, S.C. at the Briar's Creek Golf Club that's earned rave reviews.
"It's supposed to be one of the best venues available," Kornegay said.
The Bulls wrap up their regular season at the San Diego State University Farm Classic March 31-April 2 at a tournament that will help the team be prepared for conditions outside of its norm, which should be beneficial come postseason time.
"You never know what kind of selection site we might end up with for regionals. We want to play a little bit in the east, a little bit in the central and a little bit out west," Kornegay said. "San Diego State has a great field where we'll be able to play against some of the top teams in the country."
The Big East Championship is scheduled for April 21-23 back in Celebration, Fla., at the Ginn Reunion Resort. USF captured the program's first-ever Big East title the last time out in Celebration and finished last season with four tournament victories. First-year Bull Christina Miller was named the Big East's player of the year as well.
Much of USF's lineup has returned for this season and USF's players are embracing a schedule that will test them on a number of levels and locations.
"The very first words out of their mouths were, 'Oh, wow. This is awesome. We can't wait to compete,'" Kornegay said. "When you get teams excited about what they're playing in, then you feel pretty confident going in."