UNLV women’s golf team awaits regional assignment

There’s no bracketology in selecting the postseason field in NCAA women’s golf. Teams are chosen — or not — based almost exclusively on their ranking.

No. 47 UNLV assumes it will be included when the 72-team field is announced at 4 p.m. today. The Rebels are fresh off a second-place finish in the Mountain West Conference championships behind individual winner Therese Koelbaek.

For coach Amy Bush, the only drama figures to be which of three regional sites UNLV will be assigned to May 5-7. The options are the West at Auburn, Wash., the East at Daytona Beach, Fla., and the Central at South Bend, Ind.

“We’re hoping to stay in the West,” Bush said. “But we’re ranked No. 14 in the West so there’s a possibility we may get shipped.”

If the Rebels finish in the top eight in their region, they will advance to the NCAA championships at College Station, Texas, from May 18 to 21. Their last trip to the national tournament in 2008 yielded a 16th-place finish.

The Rebels, who finished 16th in the West last year, have made eight straight regional appearances. They’ll enter this year’s tournament playing well — sophomore Ellis Keenan placed fifth in the MWC — but with a key injury issue.

Koelbaek, a senior from Denmark, gained a four-shot victory in the MWC tournament April 14-16 in Phoenix despite a sprained left shoulder.

“Therese was amazing, considering how much pain she was in,” Bush said. “But Ellis was the most pleasant surprise. She had made an equipment change after our tournament to a new putter and it really helped. She’s playing with a new-found confidence and it has given our team a big boost.”

Koelbaek, the conference player of the year, was limited to putting practice last week while receiving treatment on her shoulder.

The rest of the Rebels worked mainly on putting and the short games.

“We did a lot of (short-game practice) going into conference and it paid off,” Bush said. “If we can carry that into regionals, I think we have a great chance to advance to nationals.”

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter @stevecarprj.

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