"Obviously, we are very excited to be among the teams selected," Alabama Head Coach Mic Potter said. "One of our goals was to make it to regionals, because you can't play in the NCAA Championship without advancing to regionals. It feels good to have met one of our team goals."
The East regional will be hosted by Wake Forest University and will be played on the Bryan Park Golf Course in Bryan Park, N. C.
"I'm very familiar with the course, having coached teams playing on it in the last seven or eight seasons," Potter said. "It is a fair course with sectioned greens, so we will be working in that direction this week."
The field includes seven SEC foes, including Auburn, the 2006 SEC champions, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, LSU and Mississippi State. Also present at the East regional will be the Lady Paladins of Furman, the school that Potter coached for 23 seasons before leaving for Alabama last summer.
In leading his first Tide team to NCAA competition, Potter ended a one-year hiatus from the event for Alabama and continued his string of NCAA regional appearances alive. Potter has led a team to NCAA regional competition in each of the seasons since the inception of regional play in 1993, a streak of 14 years. His teams have qualified for NCAA Championships 15 times.
Alabama has qualified for the NCAA regionals seven times in program history, all under former head coach Betty Palmer. Tide teams qualified in 1993, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002 and most recently in 2004. Alabama has advanced to the NCAA Championship just once, in 1987 under head coach Dick Spybey.
Leading the way for Alabama will likely be junior Jenny Suh. The former Furman star is on her way to shattering the single-season stroke average mark at the Capstone (73.22 strokes per18 holes) and finished in the top 10 in eight of nine events the team appeared in this season. Suh tied for runner-up honors at the 2005 East region and led her Furman team to the NCAA Championship a year ago.
Sarah Sturm, another former Furman player on the Tide roster, also has NCAA Championship experience. As a true freshman, Sturm finished 60th at the 2005 NCAA Championship. Sturm has the second-best stroke average on the team and earned a runner-up finish, the best of her career, at the SunTrust Lady Gator Classic in March.
Eight teams from each regional will advance to the 2006 NCAA Championship, to be played on the Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio on May 23-26.