This week, the top-ranked women’s golf team will look to defend its title as the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Central Regional at the Ohio State University Scarlet Course.

“Making it into top eight shouldn’t be too difficult for us, but we want to be better than that,” coach Carrie Forsyth said. “We want to leave here with a real sense of accomplishment and feeling that we’re ready to go and play well.”

Individually, UCLA has excelled in this regional round of the tournament. In the past two years, Bruins have earned three medal honors in the individual event, including junior Sydnee Michaels in 2007 and sophomore Maria Jose Uribe in 2008. As Uribe hopes to defend her individual title this week, UCLA hopes to add a third individual NCAA Regional champion.

“Obviously we’ve had some great individual performances in the past,” Forsyth said. “Hopefully we’ll get one of them or somebody else on our team to win as an individual because that’s a pretty big accomplishment.”

Along with Uribe and Michaels, sophomore Glory Yang, freshman Stephanie Kono and senior Tiffany Joh will round out the Bruin lineup this week.

“It’s definitely an advantage to have winners in the regionals, but we’re going to try to put in a team effort to win regionals and then to nationals,” Kono said.

Forsyth said that playing in the Ohio State course will be good practice for the Bruins to prepare for the NCAA Championships.

“I think it’s good for us to fly back here, kind of get used to the time change,” Forsyth said. “The grass is similar to what we’ll have when we go back for nationals. It’s not the same type of golf course, but it’s still a better rendition of what we’ll be seeing in a couple of weeks. It’s good practice for us ““ kind of a dress rehearsal.”

Forsyth said that because the greens are quite large at this golf course, a key for UCLA will be good distance control.

“Hitting your ball, getting close to the pins (is important); otherwise you get left with some long putts out here,” Forsyth said. “Choosing the right club, making good decisions on the golf course, and if you do that, you can play really well here.”

However, Kono said that the Bruins’ biggest challenge may be the weather, which could include rain and even thunderstorms this week.

“When we were practicing in the morning it was fine, but it started raining,” Kono said. “The weather’s not too good. (We need to) keep dry and stay focused even though the conditions may not be ideal.”

Leading the nation with six wins this season, UCLA is looking to match a school record for the most tournament victories in a season with a win at the Regional Championships.

“We want to win this tournament, and we want to win the next tournament ““ that’s the most important one,” Forsyth said. “It’s great to be in a position where we have the opportunity to win so many tournaments in a season. We just want to go out this week and do really well. Even if we don’t win, if we can just really get some good numbers or feel good about the way we performed and ready to go for NCAAs, it’s exciting to have that opportunity.”

PAC-10 VOTING: All five Bruins competing in this week’s Central Regional and senior Ryanne O’Toole earned all-conference honors last week. Yang and Kono were placed on the first team. Joh, Uribe and Michaels were selected for the second team, and O’Toole made honorable mention.

“It’s a great honor to be chosen for that and just lucky,” Kono said. “I worked hard this season. It felt good.”