Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Arizona Women's Golf Travels to Hawaii for Dr. Donnis Thompson Rainbow Invitational
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 24, 2001
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    Teeing Off: The Arizona Wildcats women’s golf team will travel to Honolulu this week to compete in the 16th annual Dr. Donnis Thompson Rainbow Invitational. Play begins Tuesday, March 27 and runs through Thursday, March 29. the 54-hole tournament will have a 7:30 a.m. shotgun start each day, with 18 holes played everday.

    The Field: Defending champion Arizona, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, UTEP, Osaka Gakuin (Japan), Cincinnati, Weber State, Colorado, Colorado State, Brigham Young, TCU, LSU, Minnesota, Wichita State, Montana State and host Hawaii.

    Wildcat Lineup:
    Golfer  	  Yr.     Avg.    Top 10/20       Low Rd. Events
    Natalie Gulbis    Fr.     72.25   3/1     67      5
    Cristina Baena    Jr.     74.57   3/0     70      6
    Julia Kraschinski So.     74.00   0/0     73      1
    Anne Lee          So.     75.77   0/0     72      4
    Laura Myerscough  So.     76.50   1/0     71      6

    Coach Greg Allen on the Dr. Thompson Rainbow Invitational: "It's been several weeks since our last event, so we are ready to get back into competition. We have been practicing very hard and gearing up for these final two months, with winning the post season events as our ultimate goal. The golfers are excited to get going again and we all hope to begin building momentum as we head down the stretch run."

    Last Year at the Dr. Thompson Rainbow Invitational: The top-ranked Arizona women’s golf team came from behind to win the Dr. Thompson Rainbow Wahine Golf Invitational. The Wildcats shot a 19-over-par 883 to beat second-place Pepperdine by two strokes. Sophomore Cristina Baena and senior Jenna Daniels both finished the tournament at 3-under-par 213. Baena claimed medalist honors after two playoff holes to record the first individual title of her career. Freshman Julia Kraschinski tied for 10th place (11-over-par 227), while junior Christina Monteiro finished tied for 17th (14-over-par 230). Senior Jill Gomric shot a 6-over-par 78 on day one of the tournament, but then had to withdraw from the second and third round of play after she injured her right wrist.

    Last Time Out at the Wildcat Invitational: The second-ranked Arizona women’s golf team claimed the championship at its lone home tournament, the Wildcat Invitational held at The Raven Golf Club at Sabino Springs., by shooting a team total of 875. Arizona out-dueled No. 1 Duke and No. 5 Stanford to earn the title. Head coach Greg Allen’s squad held a four-stroke lead entering Wednesday’s final round, but still needed a strong performance down the stretch to claim the title. With only nine holes remaining, the Wildcats were three shots back of the top-ranked Blue Devils. However, Arizona shot four-under-par as a team on the final nine holes to surge ahead of Duke as it combined to shoot 12-over-par on the back nine. Leading the late charge for Arizona was stellar freshman Lorena Ochoa, who earned medalist honors for the third time in her young career. Ochoa completed the tournament with a total of 213 (-3). Ochoa, like the entire Arizona team, needed a late push down the stretch to position herself in first place. With only 13 holes to play, the freshman from Guadalajara, Mexico trailed Duke’s Candy Hannemann by six strokes. Ochoa tied Hannemann and won the individual title in a sudden-death playoff with a birdie on the first extra hole. Also playing a large part in the Wildcats’ success was Arizona’s other standout freshman Natalie Gulbis. Named Golf World Collegiate Player of the Week on Feb. 21, Gulbis finished in fifth place with a three-day total of 216 (E). Sophomore Anne Lee finished the tournament tied for eighth place with a three-round total of 219 (+3). Lee’s previous high finish was a tie for 26th place at last year’s Pac-10 Conference Championships. Arizona junior Cristina Baena tied for 31st place at 13-over-par 229, while sophomore Laura Myerscough tied for 52nd place with a tournament total of 233 (+17).

    Ochoa on the LPGA: Freshman Lorena Ochoa will not participate in the Dr. Thompson Rainbow Invitational with the Wildcats this week because she is Rancho Mirage, Calif., participating in the Nabisco Championship with the LPGA. The Nabisco is one of the tour’s four major tournaments. Through two rounds, Ochoa led all amateurs and was tied for seventh place overall. Ochoa fired rounds of 72 and 71, five strokes off the lead. Last month, Ochoa finished tied for seventh place at the Welch’s/Circle K Championship, the LPGA event held in Tucson. She shot a total of 276 (-12).

    Baena Says Aloha: Junior Cristina Baena has found much success in Hawaii. The junior earned her first individual championship last year at the Dr. Thompson Rainbow Invitational by shooting a 3-under-par 213 and outdueling teammate Jenna Daniels after two playoff holes. During Baena’s freshman campaign, she tied for tenth with a three-round total of 224 (+8) at the Rainbow Invitational in Hawaii.

    Tiger, Jenna and. . . Lorena: In being named Rolex College Golfer of the Month for February, freshman Lorena Ochoa became just the third golfer in the history of the award to win the honor three times in one season. She was also honored for the months of September and November. Ochoa joins elite company, Tiger Woods of Stanford won the award three times in 1995-96 and Jenna Daniels of Arizona won it three times last year.

    The Fountain of Youth: Of the 94 individual rounds played by Arizona golfers this season, freshmen and sophomores have played 54 of them. The Wildcats fielded a lineup consisting of only underclassmen in winning the TRW Regional Challenge. Coach Greg Allen has relied on freshmen and sophomores for leadership and performance on the course. Freshman Lorena Ochoa has played 17 rounds, freshman Natalie Gulbis has played 12, sophomore Julia Kraschinski has played 2, sophomore Anne Lee has played 9 and sophomore Laura Myerscough has played 14 rounds.

    Cats In the Polls: Arizona currently stands at No. 2 in the College Golf Foundation’s MasterCard Collegiate Golf Rankings. Despite finishing 13 strokes ahead of top-ranked Duke in their last meeting, the Cats still trail the Blue Devils in the poll. Freshman Lorena Ochoa occupies the nation’s top spot in the individual rankings after capturing three individual titles so far this season. Other UA golfers ranked in the poll include freshman Natalie Gulbis and junior Cristina Baena. Gulbis is ranked eighth in the latest edition of the poll. Gulbis won the first championship of her career at the TRW Regional Challenge and has three top-10 finishes in just four scoring events this season. Baena stands at No. 16, she currently owns a stroke average of 74.57 and has three top-10 finishes. The Wildcats also occupy the No. 2 spot in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index. Arizona’s freshmen duo of Ochoa and Gulbis hold the Nos.1 and 2 spots in the Sagarin index, respectively.

    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)

    Ochoa’s Accolades: The personal honors have begun to pour in for Arizona freshman sensation Lorena Ochoa. Golf World magazine named Ochoa its Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 29, 2000. Ochoa was later honored by the College Golf Foundation as the Rolex College Golfer of the Month for September. The CGF again named Ochoa Golfer of the Month for November and February, becoming only the third golfer in the history of the award to be so honored.

    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.

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