May 29, 2001
TUCSON, Ariz. - University of Arizona freshman Lorena Ochoa was named the 2001 women's golf player of the year Tuesday, it was announced Tuesday by the National Golf Coaches Association.
Ochoa, a freshman from Guadalajara, Mexico, earned the Eleanor Dudley NGCA Player of the Year Award after finishing the 2000-01 campaign with a 71.33 stroke average and top-10 finishes in all 10 stroke play events this season. Ochoa posted 22 rounds at par or better this year and her opening-round 66 at the Stanford/Pepsi Invitational on Oct. 20 was the second-lowest round ever recorded by an Arizona freshman. She closed the 2000-01 season with a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships, losing in a one-hole playoff.
"This caps an amazing year for Lorena," said Arizona head coach Greg Allen. "She is just a phenomenal player. It is nice to see her so honored for her efforts."
Ochoa also earned the NGCA Freshman of the Year Award and first-team All-America honors. Her 71.33 stroke average was the lowest in the nation this season and was the lowest for any winner since its beginning in 1996. It marks the second consecutive season in which a UA golfer has posted the nation's best scoring average versus par, joining Jenna Daniels in 2000.
UA women's golfers have now won the Eleanor Dudley NGCA Player of the Year Award four times. In addition to Ochoa, Marisa Baena was honored in 1996 and 1997 and Daniels recognized in 2000.
Additionally, teammate Natalie Gulbis also earned first team All-America honors. The Sacramento, Calif., native had six top-10 finishes to her credit in 10 starts this year and ranked second on the team with a 72.50 stroke average. She collected three individual wins this season, including the NCAA West Regional title. Gulbis, who carded a career-low 207 (-9) in winning the West Regional on May 12, had five top-five finishes in seven spring events.
Gulbis and teammate Laura Myerscough will compete at the U.S. Women's Open, which begins Thursday, May 31, at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C. Ochoa is attempting to make the field as an alternate.