PALOS VERDES, Calif.-The Arizona Wildcats women's golf team battled a number of obstacles this week, but overcame them all as it took home its third tournament championship of the season by winning the TRW Regional Challenge in Palos Verdes, Calif. with a score of 834 (+32). Arizona freshman Natalie Gulbis took home the individual crown with a three-day-total of 214 (+1).
In addition to a field that featured 15 ranked teams, a Wildcat lineup consisting of only freshmen and sophomores fought through cold and rainy weather. Furthermore, the Regional Challenge served as the first tournament for sophomore Julia Kraschinski since last year's NCAA Championships. She had been out of action due to serious disc problems in her back. The cold weather eventually took its toll on last year's NCAA runner-up as Arizona head coach Greg Allen withheld Kraschinski from competing in today's final round as a precaution.
"She played the first two rounds with a lot of pain," Allen said. "Today it got to a point where I didn't want to see her suffer."
The Wildcats responded well, Allen noted. "With Julia dropping out, it gave them a little pressure, knowing that each of their scores was going to count."
Individually, Gulbis earned the first tournament championship of her career by carding a final round of 73 to close the tournament at one-over-par. Teammate Lorena Ochoa continued her wildly successful freshman campaign by finishing in second place, just two strokes back of Gulbis at three-over-par 216.
"Before ever watching them play, I knew they (the Arizona freshmen) had game because of all that I had heard about them," Allen said. "Now I've seen it for myself. It was fun to see them go 1-2, I hope to see that more often."
Also scoring for Arizona today were sophomores Laura Myerscough and Anne Lee. Myerscough shot a third round of 77 to wrap up action at 227 (+14), while Lee carded a final round of 79 to finish tied for 37th at 18-over-par.
Next week, Arizona will host the Wildcat Invitational at The Raven at Sabino Springs. One of college golf's most prestigious events, the tournament will feature seven of the nation's top-10 teams, including the No. 1 Duke Blue Devils. Allen hopes to have his Arizona squad at full-strength for the hometown tournament.
"I still haven't seen our team at full-strength," he commented.
Action begins at the Wildcat Invitational on Monday and runs through Wednesday, Feb. 21.
Place School Score Place Golfer School Score 1 ARIZONA 293-289-302=884 (+32) 1 Natalie Gulbis ARIZONA 72-69-73=214 (+1) 2 New Mexico St 289-304-302=895 (+43) 2 Lorena Ochoa ARIZONA 73-70-73=216 (+3) 3 Stanford 300-309-291=900 (+48) 3 Alena Sharp New Mexico St 73-72-72=217 (+4) 4 Texas 302-301-299=902 (+50) T4 Stacy Prammanasudh Tulsa 75-70-76=221 (+8) 5 Tulsa 304-292-308=904 (+52) T4 Candie Kung Southern Cal 75-72-74=221 (+8)
Place Arizona Golfer Score 1 Natalie Gulbis 72-69-73=214 (+1) 2 Lorena Ochoa 73-70-73=216 (+3) T21 Laura Myerscough 75-75-77=227 (+14) T37 Anne Lee 77-75-79=231 (+18) WD Julia Kraschinski 73-75-WD