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Women's Golf Hosts Wildcat Invitational; Lorena Ochoa Goes For Sixth Consecutive Victory
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/22/2002
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Feb. 22, 2002

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Now On The Tee: Arizona's women's golf team will play host to the nation's best, an annual February ritual in Tucson, at the Wildcat Invitational on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 25 and 26. Eighteen teams will tee off Monday at 7:30 a.m. and play 36 holes and again at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday for the final round, with shotgun starts both days.

Some Tournament Themes: Arizona will learn if some home-cooking and a home course advantage are enough to put the Wildcats over the top and win their first team title of the year... Sophomore Lorena Ochoa will attempt to extend her dominant streak of wins to six in a row... A victory for Ochoa would make her the most accomplished women's golfer in UA history, breaking Marisa Baena's mark of nine individual championships... Senior Cristina Baena makes her season debut after missing the entire fall season after wrist surgery... Freshman Mar Garcia will step out of older brother Sergio's shadow and attempt to make some waves of her own as she makes her collegiate debut... Ochoa and Candy Hannemann of Duke will square off for the third time in their careers... Their previous matchups have both resulted in sudden-death playoffs to determine medalist honors, with Ochoa besting Hannemann for the 2001 Wildcat Invitational title and Hannemann defeating Ochoa for the 2001 National Championship.

Course: The Raven at Sabino Springs will serve as the tournament course. Widely recognized as one of Arizona's most scenic golf courses, the Raven will play to a par of 72 and a length of 6,119 yards this week.

The Field: The top five teams and seven of the top-10 teams in the country, according to the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, will compete in the Wildcat Invitational. The top 13 teams in last year's Wildcat Invitational will return to Tucson for the event. Additionally, 10 of the top 11 teams from last year's NCAA Championships will participate. Sophomore Lorena Ochoa, the nation's top-rated golfer, and the Auburn Tigers, the nation's top-rated team, will put their rankings on the line at the Wildcat Invitational.

Teams Scheduled to Compete: host Arizona, Arizona State, Auburn, Duke, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Pepperdine, San Jose State, SMU, Southern California, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, Tulsa, UCLA and Washington.

A Look at the Rankings: Arizona sits 11th in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index. Sophomore Lorena Ochoa, winner of five consecutive tournaments, stands atop the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index individual ratings.

Wildcat Lineup:

Golfer Year Avg. Top 10/20 Low Rnd. Events

Lorena Ochoa So. 69.93 5/0 66 5

Laura Myerscough Jr. 75.71 1/1 72 5

Julia Kraschinski Jr. 80.50 0/0 72 3

Cristina Baena Sr. first event of season

Mar Garcia Fr. first event of career

Miriam Kraschinski* Fr. 78.45 0/0 75 4

Anne Lee* Jr. 77.42 0/1 71 4

Cathie Williamson* Sr. 80.66 0/0 77 3

* will compete as individuals

Last Year 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 the 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 the Lady Blue Devils 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 career. Ochoa completed the tournament with a total of 213 (-3), winning 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).

Last Time Out at the TRW Regional Challenge: Lorena Ochoa, the top-rated golfer in the nation, extended her streak of consecutive tournament victories to five as she earned medalist honors for the ninth time in her career at the TRW Regional Challenge at Palos Verdes Golf Club. Ochoa posted a score of 7-under-par 206, six strokes ahead of second-place finisher Christi Cano of Oklahoma State. Ochoa's three-round score shattered the previous tournament record at the TRW Regional Challenge by six strokes. The old record of 212 was set in 1998 by Filippa Hemersson of Tulsa and in 2000 by Shauna Estes of Georgia. With her performance, the 5-foot-5-inch phenom lowered her scoring average to 69.93, well below her record-setting average of 71.56 from her freshman season. Ochoa's dominant performance was not enough, however, to lead Arizona to the team title. No. 2 Tulsa finished in first place with a three-day team total of 870. The Wildcats finished in sixth place, with a team score of 907. Freshman Miriam Kraschinski wrapped up play tied for 43rd place with a three-round total of 232. Junior Laura Myerscough closed the tournament tied for 36th place. Juniors Julia Kraschinski and Anne Lee finished in 78th and 86th places, respectively.

Record-Setter?: A win at the Wildcat Invitational would make Lorena Ochoa the most successful golfer in UA history, giving her the most individual tournament championships in a UA career.

No Place Like Home: No tournament has been as friendly to the Wildcat women's golf team as the Wildcat Invitational. Arizona has won its home tournament seven times, including the last three years. The Wildcats have won the Rainbow Wahine Invitational on six occasions and have taken top honors five times at both the Pac-10 Conference Championships and the Dick McGuire Invitational.

A Duel in the Desert: Lorena Ochoa and Duke senior Candy Hannemann will square off for the third time in their college careers. Last year at the Wildcat Invitational, the duo completed the regulation 54 holes tied and Ochoa reigned victorious in a one-hole playoff. The two met again at the NCAA Championships and again completed regulation play tied. However, Hannemann defeated Ochoa in a two-hole sudden death playoff.

Baena Back in Action: Senior Cristina Baena will make her season debut at the WIldcat Invitational, after missing the entire fall season and the first event of the spring season due to wrist surgery. The fourth-year senior had three top-10 finishes in 2000-01.

Garcia Comes Aboard: Upon enrolling in classes at UA at the beginning of the spring semester, freshman Mar Garcia, the younger sister of PGA Tour and European PGA Tour star Sergio Garcia, became eligible to compete for the Wildcats. Garcia, a 5-foot-5-inch freshman from Castellon, Spain, hails from a family full of accomplished golfers. In addition to her brother Sergio, her father Victor competes on the Senior PGA Tour and another brother, also named Victor, played golf at Francis Marion University. Her accomplishments include a first-place performance in the 21 and under group at the 1999 Spanish Junior.

Re-Writing The Record Books: Ochoa's three-round total at the Oregon State Invitational of 10-under-par 206 set a new Arizona record for individual 54-hole score. The previous mark of 207 was shared by former Wildcat standouts Leta Lindley (Feb. 24-25, 1992, Arizona Inv., Randolph North GC), Jenna Daniels (April 7-9, 2000, PING/ASU Inv., Karsten GC) and Natalie Gulbis (May 10-12, 2001, Pac-10 Chmps., Karsten GC).

All-Time Tournament Championships: The five titles won by sophomore Lorena Ochoa this season brings her career total to nine, which ties her with Marisa Baena on the all-time ranks of most individual tournament championships for an Arizona woman. Baena claimed nine titles during her three seasons as a Wildcats, including six in the 1995-96 season. Ochoa passed former Arizona great and current LPGA Player of the Year Annika Sorenstam, who ranks third with seven individual titles.

Oregon Trail Proves Successful for Lee: Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis, Ore., has been the site of two of junior Anne Lee's career-best rounds. At the Oregon State Invitational held at Trysting Tree in early October, Lee fired a 1-under-par 71 to set a new career low. The mark eclipsed her old personal best of even-par 72, which she shot on two occasions. Most recently, Lee carded a 72 at Trysting Tree during the Wildcats' 20-stroke victory at the NCAA West Regional. The junior from Northridge, Calif., also shot 72 at the 2001 Wildcat Invitational.

Lorena on the LPGA: Lorena Ochoa has received sponsor exemptions to participate in the first three LPGA tournaments held in the continental United States this season, PING Banner Health, Welch's/Circle K Championship and the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Last year, Ochoa competed in the Welch's/Circle K Championship where she tied for seventh place at 12-under-par. She also tied for 21st place at the 2001 Nabisco Championship with a four-round total of 2-over-par. Ochoa was the low amateur finisher in both events in 2001.

Sister, Sister: With freshman Miriam Kraschinski joining the squad, the Wildcats added another pair of sisters to the Arizona golf family. Miriam joins her sophomore sister Julia in the program. They join current Wildcat Cristina Baena and her sister, LPGA star Marisa, as the only siblings to have competed for Arizona.

Wildcat Coaching Staff: Now in his second year with the Arizona golf program, Greg Allen has led the team to six tournament championships, including the 2001 Pac-10 Conference Championship and a 20-stroke victory at the 2001 NCAA West Regional. Last summer, he paired with Arizona men's head coach Rick LaRose to coach the United States team to victory in 2001 U.S.-Japan Collegiate Matches. Allen, who was hired in July 2000, came 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. Prior to coaching at Texas, Allen served as Director of Tournament Operations with the American Junior Golf Association. Allen graduated from Murray State University in 1993. He is assisted by Holly Carriker, who joined the staff in September 2001. Carriker competed collegiately at USC for two years before transferring to Texas, where she completed her remaining eligibility. The Texas native is a member of the LPGA's Teaching & Club Professional Division.

NCAA FALL PREVIEW - 8th Place

Sept. 24-26, Auburn, Wash.: Sophomore Lorena Ochoa won her first tournament championship of the season at the NCAA Fall Preview, after tournament officials cancelled the third round due to rain and determined the 36-hole totals would be the final results. The Wildcats finished in 11th place as a team with a two-round total of 606. Ochoa used consecutive sub-par rounds of 71 and 68 to claim her first title of the season with a two-round total of 5-under-par 139. The 2001 NCAA Fall Preview marks Ochoa's fifth career championship. Junior Laura Myerscough wrapped up play with a two-round total of 8-over-par 152, while junior Anne Lee shot a two-round score of 11-over-par 155. Myerscough and Lee finished tied for 41st and 64th places, respectively. Also scoring for Arizona were the Kraschinski sisters. Freshman Miriam Kraschinski tied for 93rd, while junior Julia finished in 118th place.

OREGON STATE INVITATIONAL - 2nd Place

Oct. 8-10, Corvallis, Ore.: Sophomore Lorena Ochoa won individual medalist honors for the sixth time in her career and the second time of the season at the Oregon State Invitational after posting a career-best 54-hole total of 10-under-par 206. Arizona finished tied with tournament champion California at 18-over-par 882, but took second place by virtue of the NCAA tie-break policy. The Wildcats closed action at the Oregon State Invitational, held at Trysting Tree Golf Club, with a third-round of 17-over-par 305. Despite posting identical scores, California was awarded first place over Arizona as the low score from each team's fifth player broke the tie. Ochoa used rounds of 72, 67 and 67 to finish nine strokes ahead of Anne Walker and Sarah Huarte of California and Kim Kouwabunpat of Stanford, who tied for second at 1-under-par 215. Earning top-15 finishes for Arizona were juniors Laura Myerscough and Anne Lee. Myerscough completed play tied for 10th place, while Lee tied for 14th.

HAWAII FALL INVITATIONAL - 2nd Place

Oct. 30-31, Honolulu, Hawaii: The fourth-ranked Wildcats claimed second place after finishing 21 strokes behind tournament champion New Mexico at the Hawaii Fall Invitational. Sophomore Lorena Ochoa won her third tournament championship of the season as she closed action at 2-over-par 218. Arizona shot a final-round 302, its best round of the 54-hole tournament. California posted a three-round team total of 911 to wrap up the tournament six strokes back of the Wildcats in third place. The win was the seventh of Ochoa's career. The Guadalajara, Mexico, native's streak of consecutive top-three finishes reached 12 tournaments after competing in Hawaii. Junior Laura Myerscough posted another top-15 finish, closing the tournament at 12-over-par 228 to tie for 14th. Junior Anne Lee, from Northridge, Calif., finished tied for 22nd place at 14-over-par 230. Also scoring for Arizona were senior Cathie Williamson and freshman Miriam Kraschinski. Williamson tied for 36th, while Kraschinski took 54th place.

AUBURN TIGER-DERBY INVITATIONAL - 4th Place

Nov. 9-11, Auburn, Ala.: Lorena Ochoa continued her dominant sophomore season by winning her fourth consecutive tournament as she carded a final-round 70 to finish six strokes ahead of Georgia's Summer Sirmons and Tennessee's Young-A Yang at the Auburn Tiger-Derby Invitational. Arizona finished fourth at 35-over-par 899. Georgia took first place with a three-day team total of 21-over-par 885. Eight of the top-10 ranked teams in the nation competed in the 54-hole tournament. Ochoa's six-stroke victory gives her eight career wins. The final round saw Ochoa shoot par or better for the ninth time in 11 rounds this season. The sophomore posted a 54-hole total of 6-under-par 210. Junior Anne Lee contributed to the Wildcats' success with a three-round score of 12-over-par 228, good for a tie for 24th place. Laura Myerscough, a junior from Charleston, Ill., closed the tournament tied for 21st place at 11-over-par. Freshman Miriam Kraschinski tied for 39th place at 18-over-par, while junior Julia Kraschinski tied for 52nd at 26-over-par. Senior Cathie Williamson competed as an individual and tied for 60th place.

TRW Regional Challenge - 6th Place

Feb. 11-13, Palos Verdes, Calif.: Lorena Ochoa, the top-rated golfer in the nation, extended her streak of consecutive tournament victories to five as she earned medalist honors for the ninth time in her career at the TRW Regional Challenge at Palos Verdes Golf Club. Ochoa posted a score of 7-under-par 206, six strokes ahead of second-place finisher Christi Cano of Oklahoma State. Ochoa's three-round score shattered the previous tournament record at the TRW Regional Challenge by six strokes. The old record of 212 was set in 1998 by Filippa Hemersson of Tulsa and in 2000 by Shauna Estes of Georgia. With her performance, the 5-foot-5-inch phenom lowered her scoring average to 69.93, well below her record-setting average of 71.56 from her freshman season. Ochoa's dominant performance was not enough, however, to lead Arizona to the team title. No. 2 Tulsa finished in first place with a three-day team total of 870. The Wildcats finished in sixth place, with a team score of 907. Freshman Miriam Kraschinski wrapped up play tied for 43rd place with a three-round total of 232. Junior Laura Myerscough closed the tournament tied for 36th place. Juniors Julia Kraschinski and Anne Lee finished in 78th and 86th places, respectively.

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