Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Women's Golf To Host Nation's Best at Wildcat Invitational
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: February 15, 2001
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    Teeing Off: Arizona continues spring play next week when it hosts many of the nation’s top teams in the Wildcat Invitational being held at the Raven at Sabino Springs. Action begins Monday with an 8 a.m. shotgun start and runs through Wednesday. A practice round will be held at the Raven on Sunday.

    The Field:The tournament features the last 14 NCAA Champions, including the 2000 NCAA Champions and host Arizona Wildcats. According to the latest MasterCard rankings, seven of the nation’s top 10 teams will compete. Additionally, 10 of the 16 teams are currently ranked in the nation’s top 25. The schools include Arizona State, California, Duke, Nevada, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Oregon, Pepperdine, San Jose State, Southern California, Stanford, Texas, Tulsa, UCLA and Washington.

    Arizona Head Coach Greg Allen on the Wildcat Invitational: “The Wildcat Invitational is one of the premier tournaments in women’s college golf and it will be nice to showcase one of Tucson’s premier golf courses to the visiting teams. The Raven is a first-class facility and will provide a great test of golf.”

    Probable Lineup:
    Golfer  		Yr.     Avg.    Top 10/20       Low Rd. Events
    Lorena Ochoa    	Fr.     71.50   5/0     	66      6
    Natalie Gulbis  	Fr.     72.33   2/1     	67      4
    Cristina Baena  	Jr.     74.09   3/0     	70      5
    Julia Kraschinski       So.     74.00   0/0     	73      1
    * No. 5 Golfer To Be Determined

    Last Year at the Wildcat Invitational: Arizona took home its second title of the 2000 spring season by posting a total of 7-under-par 857 at the Wildcat Invitational. Two Arizona golfers, Jenna Daniels and Christina Monteiro, tied for fifth at 213 (-3). Daniels shot a 68 on the third day of play to move up from 17th place. The rest of the Arizona lineup included Jill Gomric, who placed 12th with a three-day total of 215 (-1), Cristina Baena, who tied for 20th at 219 (+3) and Julia Kraschinski, who tied for 61st with a 12-over-par 228. Anne Lee competed as an individual and tied for 41st with an 8-over-par 224.

    Last Week at the TRW Regional Challenge: The Arizona Wildcats women’s golf team battled a number of obstacles, 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). The Wildcats finished 11 strokes ahead of second-place New Mexico State. Freshman Natalie Gulbis took home the individual crown with a three-day-total of 214 (+1). In addition to competing against a field that featured 15 ranked teams, a Wildcat lineup consisting of only freshmen and sophomores also fought through cold and rainy weather en route to victory. Furthermore, the Regional Challenge served as the first tournament for sophomore Julia Kraschinski since the 2000 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 coach Greg Allen withheld Kraschinski from competing in the final round as a precaution. Individually, Gulbis earned the first tournament championship of her career by shooting rounds of 72, 69 and 73 to close the tournament at one-over-par 214. 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. Also scoring for Arizona were sophomores Laura Myerscough and Anne Lee. Myerscough carded a three-round total of 227 (+14) to finish tied for 21st, while Lee shot 231 to finish tied for 37th at 18-over-par.

    Fabulous Freshmen: Arizona’s freshmen tandem of Lorena Ochoa and Natalie Gulbis are already off to impressive starts in their initial campaigns with the Wildcat golf program. The two currently occupy the one and two spots on the team and are both highly-ranked in national polls. According to the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, Ochoa is currently the top Division I golfer in the nation, while Gulbis checks in at No. 7. Ochoa is also in the top spot in the MasterCard Collegiate Golf Rankings and fellow freshman Gulbis debuted at No. 18 and is currently ranked No. 15 in the MasterCard rankings. Ochoa has finished in the top-10 in every event so far this year, including two first-place finishes and two second-place showings.

    Cats In the Polls: Arizona currently stands at No. 2 in the College Golf Foundation’s MasterCard Collegiate Golf Rankings. Freshman Lorena Ochoa occupies the nation’s top spot in the individual rankings after a fall season that saw her earn two tournament championships and four top-10 finishes. Other UA golfers ranked in the poll include junior Cristina Baena and freshman Natalie Gulbis. Baena stands at No. 13 after a fall season that included three top-10 finishes. Gulbis is ranked 15th in the final fall edition of the poll. Gulbis missed the Cats’ first two tournaments due to an injured back, but quickly rebounded as she posted a stroke average of 72.83 and two top-20 finishes.

    Freshmen Hitting the (Record) Books: The Wildcats’ two freshmen combined to go 11 shots under par in round one of the Stanford/Pepsi Invitational. Ochoa shot a 66 (-6) and Gulbis, in her first round of collegiate golf ever, checked in with a 67 (-5), both rounds rank near the top on the all-time record list for Arizona freshmen. Marisa Baena shot a seven-under-par 65 in May 1996 for the lowest round ever by a Wildcat freshman and Annika Sorenstam carded a five-under 67 at the Stanford Invitational in October 1990 for the third-best round by a UA freshman.

    Golfer           Date         Tournament              Score
    Marisa Baena     5/1996       NCAA West Regionals     65 (-7)
    Lorena Ochoa     10/20/2000   Stanford Invitational   66 (-6)
    Natalie Gulbis   10/20/2000   Stanford Invitational   67 (-5)
    Annika Sorenstam 10/1990      Stanford Invitational   67 (-5)

    Kraschinki’s Back is Back: After missing the entire fall season with serious disc problems in her back, sophomore Julia Kraschinski is completely healthy. Kraschinski capped her freshman season with a second place finish at the NCAA Championships, finishing just three strokes behind individual National Champion and teammate Jenna Daniels. Kraschinski competed in all 11 of the Wildcats’ tournaments as a freshman and had a stroke average of 74.88. She competed in the first and second rounds of the TRW Regional Challenge, but was withheld from competing in the third round. Coach Allen withheld Kraschinski as a precautionary measure because the cold and wet weather in Palos Verdes had been aggravating her back.

    Ochoa’s Accolades: The personal honors have begun to pour in for Arizona freshman sensation Lorena Ochoa. After a ninth-place finish in her first career collegiate competition, Ochoa ran away with the individual crown at the Comcast/Dick McGuire Invitational. She led the tournament wire-to-wire, shooting a four-under 69 on day one and wrapping up action at seven-under-par 212. Her performance earned her a pair of awards. Golf World magazine named Ochoa its Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 29. Ochoa was later honored by the College Golf Foundation as the Rolex College Golfer of the Month for September. Following her five-under-par performance at the Golf World Invitational and a 1-1-1 record at the CGF Match Play Championships, the CGF again named Ochoa Golfer of the Month. Additionally, Ochoa made her debut in the MasterCard Collegiate Golf Rankings at No. 3 and quickly ascended to No. 1, where she currently stands. Ochoa continued her outstanding fall season at the Stanford/Pepsi Invitational by shooting a first-round 66. Her six-under-par performance was the second best round ever by an Arizona freshman, behind only Marisa Baena’s seven-under 65 in May 1996 at the NCAA West Regionals.

    Princess Christina: Senior Christina Monteiro did not travel with the team the weekend of Nov. 10-12 to Estero, Fla. for the Match Play Championships in order to remain in Tucson for UA’s annual homecoming festivities. Monteiro was selected as the athletic department’s nominee for homecoming queen.

    Hello, Old Friend: UA squared off against Georgia in the first round of November’s Match Play Championships. The Georgia Bulldogs are coached by former Wildcat head coach Todd McCorkle. The meeting in the Match Play Championships was the first between the Cats and McCorkle since he left Tucson in late June.

    Fall Season Wrap-Up: The Wildcats completed a successful fall season by capturing two team titles and two individual titles. Four Arizona golfers garnered a total of nine top-10 finishes in just four scoring events. The Wildcats opened the fall with a second-place showing at the NCAA Fall Preview, shooting 598 and finishing just three strokes behind champion Duke. The following weekend saw the Wildcats earn their first title with an 892 at the Comcast/Dick McGuire Invitational. Freshman Lorena Ochoa won the individual title with a three-round score of 212 (-7). In October, Arizona won its second team championship of the year by shooting 873 at the Stanford/Pepsi Invitational. Arizona’s two freshmen, Ochoa and Natalie Gulbis, opened the tournament with rounds of 66 and 67. The Wildcats wrapped up the fall season with a sixth-place finish at the Golf World Invitational and a seventh-place finish at the CGF Match Play Championships. Ochoa again earned medalist honors at the Golf World Invitational. Junior Cristina Baena notched three top-10 finishes, including second place at the Comcast/Dick McGuire Invitational and third place at the NCAA Fall Preview. Arizona finished the fall season ranked No. 2 by the College Golf Foundation and had three golfers ranked individually in the top 15.

    2000 National Champions: The Wildcats topped off a dominant season in which they won nine tournaments by a combined total of 73 shots by capturing the 2000 National Championship in May. The title is the school’s second in the last five years. Arizona turned in one of the most dominating performances in the 19-year history of the national championship tournament. Second-place Stanford finished trailing Arizona by 21 strokes, the third-largest margin in NCAA Championship history. Three Wildcat golfers finished in the top 10 at the championships, held at Crosswater Course in Sunriver, Ore. Alumna Jenna Daniels took the individual title with a one-under par 287, sophomore Julia Kraschinski finished in second, and junior Cristina Baena tied for tenth.

    Wildcat Coaching Staff: Coach Greg Allen, who was hired in late July, comes to the University of Arizona from Texas where he was the assistant coach for the Longhorns’ men’s golf team. Allen helped guide Texas to the 1999-2000 NCAA Central Region championship and a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Allen graduated from Murray State University in 1993. Coach Allen is assisted by Amy Solfisburg who is in her eighth year with the Wildcat women’s golf program. Solfisburg attended the University of Arizona and is a native of Michigan.

    Tournament Name:
    Wildcat Invitational

    The Raven at Sabino Springs

    Par 71/6,776 yards

    Event Date:
    Monday-Wednesday, Feb. 19-21, practice round Sunday, Feb. 18

    18 holes each day, 8 a.m. shotgun start

    The Field: The tournament features the last 14 NCAA Champions, including the 2000 NCAA Champions and host Arizona Wildcats. According to the latest MasterCard rankings, seven of the nation's top 10 teams will compete, including the No. 1 Duke Blue Devils. Additionally, 10 of the 16 teams are currently ranked in the nation's top 25.

    Teams Scheduled to Compete: host Arizona, Arizona State, California, Duke, Nevada, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Oregon, Pepperdine, San Jose State, Southern California, Stanford, Texas, Tulsa, UCLA, Washington

    Player and Coach Availability: Players and coaches will be available to the media after completion of play each day.

    2000 Champions:

    Beth Bauer, Duke (67-71-73=211, -5)

    Arizona, 857

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