Big 12 a 'natural fit' for TCU women's golf, coach says

Posted Wednesday, Jun. 20, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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Moving to the Big 12

Sixth in a 15-part countdown looking at how TCU teams might fare in the Big 12. On Friday: Men's golf

Big 12 women's golf teams

Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech

Last four championships

Big 12

MWC

2012

Oklahoma

TCU

2011

Texas

TCU

2010

Texas A&M

New Mexico

2009

Oklahoma St.

New Mexico

Old rival: New Mexico

New rival: Texas

Best in the Big 12: Oklahoma's Chirapat Jao-Javanil, who will be a junior next year, led the Sooners to a Big 12 championship. Then she shot a 2-under-par 70 at the NCAA championships to become her school's first ever individual women's golf national champion.

Quotable: "We know we are good. We just have to play to our potential. We can't hype ourselves up too much about being in the Big 12. We are still playing golf. We are still trying to get the ball in the hole."

TCU sophomore golfer April McCoy

Circle the date: While the exact date and location aren't set, TCU will reignite old rivalries and shoot for a third straight conference championship when it competes in its first Big 12 tournament in April 2013.

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When Angie Ravaioli-Larkin arrived at TCU in 1994, the Horned Frogs competed against area rivals in the Southwest Conference.

After leading the TCU women's golf team through transitions into the Western Athletic Conference, Conference USA and Mountain West, she is ready to take the Frogs home.

"I think it's a positive move all the way around. With the media attention, seats will be filled out," Ravaioli-Larkin said. "We've come full circle. People who were around in the Southwest Conference days remember those glory days and the rivalries. This move will build excitement, which in turn will create a lot of energy."

Ravaioli-Larkin played in the Southwest Conference as well.

"It's going to be fun," said Ravaioli-Larkin, who was a standout for SMU and has competed professionally. "It's a natural fit playing teams in Texas and Oklahoma."

The main difference next year for the women's golf team will be the Big 12 tournament, where the Frogs will face talented squads like Oklahoma and Texas.

"The conference tournament is going to be a little bit different. It's going to be a little tougher, but I think we can do it," TCU golfer April McCoy said. "It will be good for all of us to see how we compare against better teams."

McCoy, a sophomore and Carrollton Creekview graduate, was recruited by Baylor and Oklahoma State. Now she will compete against those schools.

"I love it. It's definitely good to play against teams that are close to us," McCoy said.

TCU won the MWC tournament last year, its second straight championship, a first in the program's history. McCoy and fellow sophomore Alexandra Bonetti had strong seasons. Sanna Nuutinen, who will be a junior, was the overall Mountain West champion.

"This year, we focused on paying attention to the details every day," Ravaioli-Larkin said. "I don't think there is a lot of difference, in golf, between No. 10 in the country and No. 20. But we are trying to keep improving to get our program back in that top 10 position."

But the Frogs will have to work even harder to secure a third straight conference title.

"The depth of each team, and the number of teams both increase in the Big 12," Ravaioli-Larkin said.

"There are more teams that can compete for championships each year. What it takes to win a championship won't change. You have to play well that week."

Brent Shirley, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @bshirley08

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