Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Arizona Women's Golf Takes The Course For Their Spring Season
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: June 22, 2004
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Feb. 3, 2004

Teeing Off: The Arizona women's golf team starts their spring season at the Northop Grumman Regional Challenge in Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. on Feb. 9-11.

A Look At The Tournament: The Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge will be hosted by Ohio State University. The tournament is in its ninth year; Arizona has participated in eight of the nine years. The Wildcats have been successful at past Regional Challenges. In 2000 and 2001 Arizona won the team medalist honors. While in 2000, Arizona's Natalie Gulbis won the individual medalist honors and in 2001 Arizona's Lorena Ochoa won the individual medalist honors as well. The tournament will be played in a 18-18-18 for a total of 54 format during the three day competition.

The Course: The 2004 Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge will be held again this year at the Palos Verdes Golf Club in Palos Verdes Estate, Calif. The course is Par 71 set across 5,912 yards.

The Field: Arizona, Arizona State, California, Florida, Georgia, New Mexico, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Pepperdine, Stanford, South Carolina, Southern California, Texas, Tulsa, UCLA.

The Schedule: The tournament is set to tee-off Monday, Feb. 9. The first round will began at 9 a.m. PST on Monday. Tuesday Feb. 10's second round action will tee off also at 9 a.m. PST. The final round action will be on Wednesday, Feb. 11th at a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. PST.


Live On The Internet: will once again have live scoring avaliable for your convenience during the tournament.

Wildcat Line-up and 2003-04 Statistics: Erica Blasberg (So.), Cassandra Kirkland (So.), Lani Elston (So.), Mar Garcia (Jr.), Miriam Kraschinski (Jr.), Whitney Welch* (So.) * Will compete as an individual

Last Year at the Regional Challenge: Severe rain caused the cancellation of the third and final round of the 2003 Northrup Grumman Regional Challenge at Palos Verdes Golf Club. Tournament officials declared the second-round results would stand as final, showing Arizona in third place. The Wildcats' 54-hole total of 606 (+38) left them eight strokes behind tournament champion Pepperdine (598, +30) after the second and final round. Southern California took second place with a two-round score of 603 (+35). The third-place finish was Arizona's fourth top-three finish in five events in the 2002-03 season. Freshman Erica Blasberg, top-rated at the time, in the Golfweek/Sagrin Performance Index, earned her third consecutive top-three finish of the 2002-03 season as she tied for second place after 54 holes. The freshman from Corona, Calif., shared second place with Charlotte Mayorkas of UCLA at 3-over-par 145. The duo closed the tournament just one stroke behind individual medalist Katherine Hull of Pepperdine. Hull carded a 2-over-par 144 in the event's two rounds. Other finishers for the Wildcats included Miriam Kraschinski (152, +10), who notched her third top-15 performance of the 2002-03 season as she tied for 13th place. Senior Laura Myerscough tied for 22nd place with a two-round score of 12-over-par 154. Anne Lee, from nearby Northridge, Calif., shared 35th place with six other golfers at 15-over-par 157. Completing the Arizona lineup was Julia Kraschinski who tied for 80th place with a score of 27-over-par 169.

Coach Allen's Thoughts On The Spring Season: "I believe we can go out and have a good chance to win every event. We had a good fall season, it was our best stroke average we have seen in a long time. We're a young team, but we've gained a lot of experience in the fall."

Coach Allen's Thoughts on sophomore Erica Blasberg: "After the fall it is a two man race between Erica [Blasberg] and Duke's Elizabeth Janangelo for the player of the year. I think she wants to go out and prove that she is the player of the year."

Coach Allen's Thoughts on sophomore Lani Elston: "Lani [Elston] is playing well in practice and practice qualifing rounds. I believe her fall season was the best for her. It was her first time to compete for the U of A and gave her an opportunity to learn how to balance her rigious schoolwork and golf. Overall it was a good learning experience for Lani."

Making The Grade: In the Dec. 20-27, 2003 issue of Golfweek the Arizona Women's Golfers recieved a letter grade of A. The Golfweek staff cited 'All four finishes in top-6, including a victory at Washington' as the reason for the A grade.

Sophomore Sensation: Sophomore Erica Blasberg, a pre-season All-American selection, won three individual title during the fall season. Her latest at the Pepsi-Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif. on Oct. 17-19. Blasberg's first season victory came at the Mason Rudolph Invitational on Sept. 26-28, followed by her second victory at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational on Oct. 6-8.

Rising Star: The Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational was the first top-ten finished of the 2003-04 season for sophomore Whitney Welch. Welch steadied herself in the top-fifteen through the first two days of competition. She stroked a 73 (+2) in the third round to tie her for seventh. Welch's highest finish of the 2003-04 season, before the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational, was when she tied for 29th at the NCAA Fall preview.

Record Setting Blasberg: The Pepsi-Stanford Invitational was Erica Blasberg's best three-rounds of golf in her career at Arizona. In all three rounds Blasberg shot under par, carding a 209 (-7) to tie her with Duke's Elizabeth Janangelo for first.

Wonderful Welch: Sophomore Whitney Welch shot her collegiate best, by posting 73-75-73-221(+5) at the Pepsi-Stanford Invitational.

Fab Four: Erica Blasberg, Whitney Welch, Mar Garcia and Lani Elston were the consistent starters for head coach Greg Allen during the fall. Blasberg has placed in the top-10 in all four tournaments, while the other three have combined for two top-10 performances. As a team, the fab four along with sophomore Cassandra Kirkland won the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational on Oct. 6-8 in Seattle, Wash.

Cool Cassandra: Sophomore Cassandra Kirkland stayed in the top five throughout all three rounds at the NCAA Fall Preview. On her first day of competition Kirkland tied with Auburn's Nicole Hage, with both carding 4-under-par 68. On her second day, she stood atop the leader board at the Preview by shooting an even par 72. In her final round Kirkland tied with fellow Wildcat sophomore Erica Blasberg after shooting a 1-under-par.

Living Up To The Hype: Sophomore Erica Blasberg, a pre-season All-American selection, won her second individual title of the fall season at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational in Seattle, Wash. Blasberg's first season victory came a week earlier at the Mason Rudolph Invitational.

Solo Thing: The Mason Rudolph Invitational was the first of the season for junior Miriam Kraschinski, who competed as an individual. Kraschinski tied for 57th place after shooting 19-over-par 235.

Superior Sophomores: Head coach Greg Allen took four sophomores to the team's first three events of the fall. Erica Blasberg, Lani Elston, Whitney Welch and Cassandra Kirkland helped the Wildcats place in the top five in the Fall's first three events.

Blast Off: Sophomore Erica Blasberg, a pre-season All-American selection, was on a quest for her first individual title of the season at the Mason Rudolph Invitational. Blasberg, who tied for third at the NCAA Fall Preview, looked to improve her stroke average of 71.66. In her first competition of her sophomore season, Blasberg carded a low round of 70, marking below par or equal to par twice in the three-day tournament. In the 2002 Mason Rudolph Invitational, Blasberg placed second on the leader board by shooting an even-par 216.

Terrific Transfer: Lani Elston, who transferred from the University of Idaho last year but due to transfer policies red shirted last season, competed heatedly with Blasberg to win the team competition to travel with the Wildcats to the NCAA Fall Preview. Elston was first-team All-Big West selection during her freshman campaign and left the Vandal's with a 76.00 stroke average.

Wildcat Coaching Staff: A six-year college coaching veteran, Greg Allen has led the Arizona Wildcats to nine tournament championships in just four years at the helm of the program. Included in the team's accomplishments under Allen are the 2001 and 2002 Pac-10 Conference Championships, a national runner-up finish and a 20-stroke victory at the 2001 NCAA West Regional. Allen, hired in July 2000, came to the University of Arizona from Texas where he was the assistant coach for the Longhorn's men's golf team. 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. Jody Niemann-Dansie, hired in July of 2002, assists him. Niemann-Danise played two years on the LPGA after completing her collegiate eligibility. She is a graduate of Arizona State University and was a member of the 1997 and 1998 NCAA National Championship team in Tempe.