Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
2006 Arizona Wildcats Women's Golf Season Outlook
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: January 12, 2006
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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After a fall season that showed nothing but promise and improvement, the 2005-06 Arizona women’s golf team is anxiously awaiting the launch of their spring season.  For the first time in Head Coach Greg Allen’s tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats will open the spring season with an astonishing seven freshmen on the roster.


“These freshmen really love to go out there and compete,” Allen said.  “Unlike last year, there are going to be seven or eight girls that are going to compete for five spots.”


After a disappointing finish to last season, the trio of seniors, Cassandra Kirkland, Lani Elston-Marshall and Whitney Welch, are all eager to swing their way back into the NCAA Championships.


“We have a completely different team this year,” Allen stated.  “Last year we had a lot of experience, but this year we have more depth than I’ve seen in a while.  It is going to be exciting to watch the freshmen give the rest of these girls a run for their money.”


The fall season proved successful for the Cats, who earned Top 10 finishes in three out of four tournaments, two of which the Cats finished in the Top 5.  The Wildcats also didn’t hesitate to display their depth in the fall season, teeing off with three different lineups.  The fall season is really a great time for not only the older girls to freshen up, but it also gives the freshmen a great opportunity to get a taste of what it’s like competing at the collegiate level,” Allen said.  “We had a very successful fall, improving every week.  I am excited to see what we can do in the spring.”


The senior leadership, combined with the potential of the newcomers, should make for an exciting season of golf at the University of Arizona.




The Wildcats will look for leadership both on the course and off from their trio of seniors.


Kirkland enters her final year as a Wildcat as a preseason All-American.  Kirkland says that she will most likely join the LPGA after she completes her collegiate career.  She has shown that she is very streaky, but when she is on, she has a tendency to make birdie after birdie. 


“Cassandra put a lot of pressure on herself to carry the team early on this season,” Allen said.  “But she soon realized that she doesn’t need to carry them.  She is a member of a very strong and capable team.”


Elston-Marshall is one of the better ball strikers in the country.  Once she can refine her putting game, she has the ability to shoot very low scores.  Elston-Marshall would like to take a run at the LPGA, but has plenty of other options if she decides not to.


“Lani can really hit the ball off the tee,” Allen said.  “She struggled a little on the green in the fall, but she will work out the kinks and will be one of the keys to the team’s success.”


Welch rounds out the senior class for the Cats.  Last season, Welch had her best year as a Wildcat, posting her career best at the Wildcat Invitational.  Welch will look to use that to build up her confidence. 


“Whitney is one of those girls that will always be there, competing and doing whatever she can to help her team,” Allen said.




Rachel Gavin is the Wildcats lone junior this season.  Gavin continues to get better each year and continues to gain experience. 


“Rachel is a great team player,” Allen said.  “She always has a smile on her face and never fails to make the team laugh.”




With the Wildcats boasting seven freshmen this year, there is a feeling of excitement amongst the team. 


Lauren Espinosa comes in as a highly talented golfer who will help the team immediately.  Espinosa has already posted quite a resume, being named an AJGA All-American twice.   


Amanda Wilson is another freshman that will make a run for one of the five starting spots.  With a strong showing in the fall, she has proved that she hits the ball straighter than anyone in the country. 


Sommer Scholl battled a few injuries during the fall season, but once she can get healthy she will become another key ingredient in the Wildcats’ success.


The talented Wildcat freshmen class would not be complete without the mention of fellow freshmen Brittany Pepler, Brooke Schneider and Marisa Smith. 


Joining the Wildcats in the spring will be freshman Adriana Zwanck from Madrid, Spain.  Zwanck is one of the top amateur golfers in Spain and should come in and compete right away for the Cats.


While these are just a few of the talented freshmen, there is no doubt that everyone is ready to start competing this season.


“At any point in time, one of these girls can come out of nowhere and surprise you,” Allen said.  “That’s what makes us so dangerous this year.”

The 2006 spring season tees off Feb. 13-15, at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge in Palos Verdes, Calif.