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Laura Bird named to the Peach Belt Conference Women's Golf All-Conference squad

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – UNC Pembroke senior Laura Bird and junior Ashlii Thompson were two of 10 players named to the Peach Belt Conference Women's Golf All-Conference squad, the league announced Thursday night at an awards banquet on the eve of the conference tournament in St. Augustine.

This marks the seventh-consecutive season a UNCP women's golfer has been represented on the distinguished list, and the second such time for both Thompson and Bird. Thompson, a first team honoree, was also named to the top squad in 2014, while Bird is named to the second team for the second-straight year.

A Prospect, North Carolina native, Bird sits second on the Braves and eighth in the PBC with a 77.6 stroke average. Bird has also competed in 22 rounds over nine tournaments, compiling six top-20 finishes and three inside the top five.

Bird enters the conference tournament on a hot streak, rattling off season-best ties for fourth in the last two events, the Armstrong Pirate Invitational and IWG Wolf Invitational. She grabbed a tie for fifth in the season-opening Cutter Creek Invitational, leading the Braves to a team title. Her season-best round of 72 came in the opening round of the Patsy Rendleman Invitational, leading to a tie for seventh.

A three-year starter for the Black & Gold, Bird has a career stroke average of 79.2 in 68 rounds and 33 events. She has 18-career finishes in the top 20 and nine instances where she grabbed fifth or better.

Bird is a 2012 graduate at Purnell Swett High School. She played gold there for coach Jamie Locklear, qualifying for the state tournament as a senior after finishing third at the conference championships.

Bird posted a career-best 83 enroute to qualifying for the region tournament as well. She finished 37th among the state’s female prep golfers.

Bird was an all around scholar/athlete for the Rams. She was a member of Purnell Swett’s inaugural girls golf team as a junior. She was also an all-conference and all-county basketball player for the Rams, as well as a standout on the volleyball team.

Bird is the daughter of Shannon and James Bird. She has one older sister, Olivia, and two younger sisters, Jamee and Leanna.

Jamee is a member of the UNCP volleyball team. She is a junior chemistry major.

Their father James is a former baseball standout for Pembroke High as well as UNCP.

Laura Bird is also a standout in the classroom. She maintained a 4.01 cumulative grade point average at Purnell Swett High School and graduated in the top four percent of her 376-member senior class. She is a biology major at UNCP.

Thompson, hailing from Browns Summit, North Carolina, leads the Braves and is third in the PBC with a 76.0 stroke average this season, competing in 22 rounds over nine events leading up to this weekend's league finale. She has tallied seven top-10 finishes this season, including six finishes in the top five. Among her top-five finishes are runner-up performances at the Cutter Creek Invitational, Patsy Rendleman Invitational and the Armstrong Pirate Invitational. Thompson fired a school-record 68 in the second round of the Lady Bearcat Invitational on the way to a third-place finish and has carded four par or below-par rounds this season.

In her three seasons as a UNCP starter, Thompson has played in 30 events and 63 rounds, compiling a stroke average of 77.3. She has notched 23 top-20 finishes and 13 of the top-five variety.

The 2015-16 PBC championships begin at 7:40 a.m. Friday, with the first Brave teeing off at 8:20 a.m.

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