Teeing Off: Arizona opens the spring portion of its schedule on Monday, Feb. 12, at the TRW Regional Challenge in Palos Verdes, Calif. The three-round tournament will be held at the Palos Verdes Golf Club in southern California. First- and second-round action begins at 9 a.m. PST, while Wednesday's final round will start with an 8 a.m. shotgun start. The tournament consists of 18 teams from around the nation.
The Field: Fourteen of the top 20 teams from last year's NCAA Tournament highlight the field and 15 of the 18 teams are ranked in the latest edition of the MasterCard CGF top-25 poll. Six teams from each region, Far West, West and East, will participate. The schools include Arizona, Arizona State, Florida, Michigan State, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Pepperdine, Purdue, San Jose State, Southern Cal, South Carolina, Stanford, Texas, Texas Christian, Tulsa and UCLA.
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.
Probable Lineup: Golfer Yr. Avg. Top 10/20 Low Rd. Events Lorena Ochoa Fr. 71.36 4/0 66 5 Natalie Gulbis Fr. 72.83 1/1 67 3 Cristina Baena Jr. 74.09 3/0 70 5 Julia Kraschinski So. first event of the season * No. 5 Golfer To Be Determined in Friday's final qualifying roundLast Year at the TRW Regional Challenge: In the first tournament of the 2000 spring season, the Wildcats received top-10 finishes from four different golfers to capture the team title and earn their second consecutive tournament championship. As a team, Arizona finished with a score of 869 (+17) at the par-71, 5,900-yard Palos Verdes Golf Club in Palos Verdes, Calif. Christina Monteiro led the way, finishing tied for fourth with a total of 215, two-over-par. Senior Jenna Daniels carded a final round of 67 to move up 16 places and finish tied for eighth place with fellow Wildcat Cristina Baena at five strokes over par. Also in the top-10 for the Cats was senior Jill Gomric with a three-round total of 221 (+8). Rounding out the Arizona line-up was Julia Kraschinski, who tied for 37th place.
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 a second place showing.
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.
Injury Update: The Wildcats are completely healthy, Coach Greg Allen reports. Sophomore Julia Kraschinski missed the entire fall season due to serious disc problems in her back, but is healthy now and will travel with the team to participate in the TRW regional Challenge.
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. She will return to action for the Wildcats' first spring tournament. 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.
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.
Coach Allen's Thoughts: "We are really excited to get going again. The fall was sort of a long practice round. Most everyone had a chance to play and that was good for me as a first year coach to see them in competition. Obviously the spring season is what we gear up for because of the Pac-10s, regionals and nationals. For the first time this year we are completely healthy. It may take some time for Julia to get back into the swing of things since she has not played competitively since finishing second at nationals last May. She has tremendous talent and will make this team better. With a healthy lineup, it is scary to see how good this team can really be."
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.
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.
FALL TOURNAMENT SUMMARIES
NCAA FALL PREVIEW - 2nd Place
Sept. 15-17, Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.:
The Wildcats came away with a second place finish at the NCAA Fall Preview in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. after battling extremely hot and humid conditions on day one and then facing heavy rains on day two. The third round of the tournament was cancelled due to the threat of Hurricane Gordon. Arizona's 14-over-par 598 left them three shots back of tournament champion Duke. The Wildcats were led individually by junior Cristina Baena who placed third with a one-over-par 147, just one stroke behind co-champions Marta Prieto and Maria Beautell both of Wake Forest. Two Arizona freshmen made their collegiate debuts at the NCAA Preview. Lorena Ochoa finished tied for ninth at 149, three shots over par. Nancy Abiecunas shot a 13-over, 159 to finish tied at 63rd. Christina Monteiro, Arizona's lone competing senior, finished tied for 15th at 150, four shots over. Finally, Laura Myerscough in her first collegiate competition since Feb. '99 shot a six-over 152 to claim a tie for 22nd. The Wildcats shot the low score each day, with Cristina Baena's 71 on day one and Christina Monteiro's 70 on day two.
COMCAST/DICK MCGUIRE INVITATIONAL - 1st Place
Sept. 21-23, Albuquerque, N.M.:
With a dominating performance from freshman Lorena Ochoa in just her second collegiate tournament, the Arizona Wildcats earned their first tournament championship at the Comcast/Dick McGuire Invitational. The team shot a combined 892 (+16), five strokes ahead of second-place Tulsa. Arizona jumped out to an early lead with a first round total of 291 (-1). The Wildcats then shot rounds of 299 and 302 to finish the tournament at sixteen-over-par. Individually, Lorena Ochoa led the way. She shot a three-round total of 212, seven strokes under par to claim the first championship of her young collegiate career. Ochoa set or tied a number of records at the University of New Mexico Championship Course, including tying the 54-hole individual record held by former Wildcat Marisa Baena. Not to be overshadowed by Ochoa's dominant performance, junior Cristina Baena turned in an outstanding weekend of play. She finished in second place at even-par, seven strokes behind teammate Ochoa. Sophomore Laura Myerscough carded a five-over par 224 to come in tied for sixth place. Senior Christina Monteiro tied for 56th-place at 238, while freshman Nancy Abiecunas tied for 62nd-place at 239. Senior Christelle Cuzon competed as an individual for the Wildcats and completed action tied for 27th with an 18-over-par 230, including a second round score of 74.
STANFORD/PEPSI INVITATIONAL - 1st Place
Oct. 20-22, Palo Alto, Calif.:
The Wildcats raced to a 15-shot lead after one round of the Stanford/Pepsi Invitational, then held on to come away with their second tournament title of the season. Individually, three Arizona golfers finished in the top 10. The Wildcats' freshmen duo of Lorena Ochoa and Natalie Gulbis shot a combined eleven strokes under par in the first round. Ochoa's 66 was the second-lowest round ever by Arizona freshman, while Gulbis' 67 was good for the third best round ever by a Wildcat freshman. Ochoa finished competition in second place with a three-under par 213, three strokes back of individual champion Stacy Prammanasudh of Tulsa. Gulbis tied for fifth after closing the tournament with rounds of 73 and 77 for a one-over-par total of 217. Junior Cristina Baena, the nation's top-ranked individual, earned a tie for ninth place with her five-over-par 221. Also scoring for the Wildcats were senior Christina Monteiro, 78-78-82=232 (+11), and sophomore Laura Myerscough, 80-73-82=235 (+19). Sophomore Anne Lee competed as an individual and finished in a tie for 54th with a 16-over-par 232. The tournament victory was Arizona's second of the young season.
GOLF WORLD INVITATIONAL - 6th Place
Nov. 3-5, Hilton Head Island, S.C.:
Arizona simply didn't have it, as coach Greg Allen put it. The Wildcats finished sixth at the Golf World Invitational, shooting 888 as a team. Freshman Lorena Ochoa continued her outstanding first year, winning the tournament in a one-hole playoff with Katherine Hull of Pepperdine. The win was Ochoa's second of the season and her career. Freshman Natalie Gulbis earned her second top-20 finish in as many events, she wrapped up action tied for 16th with a four-over-par 220. Junior Cristina Baena, ranked No. 3 in the country at the time, tied for 40th by shooting rounds of 74, 72 and 74. Seniors Christelle Cuzon and Christina Monteiro also participated for the Wildcats, finishing tied for 36th and 60th, respectively. The tournament marked Arizona's lowest finish of the season, thus far. Additionally, it was the first time since Sept. 26-28, 1997, that the Arizona women's golf team has finished a tournament out of the top five.
ROLEX MATCH PLAY TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS - 7th Place
Nov. 10-12, Estero, Fla.:
After a dropping its first two matches of the tournament to Georgia and Auburn, Arizona rebounded and salvaged a 7th place finish with its final round victory over Pepperdine by a score of 4-1. The opening round featured a match-up with former Wildcat head coach Todd McCorkle and his Georgia Bulldogs. Freshman Natalie Gulbis was the only Arizona golfer to win her match, defeating Reilley Rankin, 3-2. The second round saw the Wildcats fall to Auburn, 4-1. Sophomore Laura Myerscough defeated Diana Ramage, 3&2, for Arizona's only point. In the seventh-place match, the Wildcats knocked off Pepperdine with a final tally of 4-1. Gulbis and sophomore Anne Lee registered big wins, scoring 5&4 and 4&3 victories respectively.