Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Women's Golfers Head To Texas For Longhorn Invitational
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 15, 2004
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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March 15, 2004

Teeing Off: After a few weeks off the Wildcats will travel to Austin, Texas for the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational on March 21-23.

A Look At The Tournament: The 26th annual Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational is hosted by the University of Texas. The tournament honors former University of Texas golfer Betsy Rawls, who was one of the most prolific golfer of her day. At Last year's tournament the team meadlist honors went to Oklahoma State and Individual honors went to University of Texas's Jessica Reese. The last time Arizona participated in the tournament was in 2002 when they placed ninth.

The Course: The 2004 Besty Rawls Longhorn Invitational will be held again at The Hills Country Club. The course is Par 72 over 6,247 yards.

The Field: 18 teams will participate; ARIZONA, Arizona State, California, Kansas, Kansas State, UNLV, North Carolina, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Oregon State, Purdue, Southern California, Southern Methodist, Texas, Texas A & M, Texas Christian, Tulsa, Vanderbilt

The Schedule: The first round of competition will tee off at 8:00 a.m. CST on Sunday, March 21. Monday's round will begin at 8:00 a.m. CST. Teams will tee off from both holes, No. 1 and No. 10, on both days. Tuesday's final round will begin at a shotgun start at 8:00 a.m. CST.

Coming To You Live: Live scoring will be provided for your covience on

Wildcat Starting Line-up: Cassandra Kirkland (75.80), Lani Elston (76.39), Rachel Gavin(81.33), Mar Garcia (76.4), Miriam Kraschinski (79.25)

Minus One: Sophomore Erica Blasberg will not be making the trip to Austin, Texas because she is participating in the LPGA's Kraft Nabisco Championship which is being held at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Jumpin' In: Sophomore Erica Blasberg made an appearance in the LPGA's Welch's/Fry's Championship in Tucson, Ariz. on March 11-14th. Blasberg along with Joan Pitcock were sponsor exemption participatants in this event. Several former Wildcats joined Blasberg, the list includes; Lorena Ochoa, Marisa Baena, Jenna Daniels, Natalie Gulbis, Chris Johnson, Kathryn Marshall, Laura Myerscough.

The Rankings: The Wildcats stayed in ninth on the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index. Arizona had been previously ranked as high as second in the poll since the beginning of the fall season, but then took a drop after their ninth place finish at the Wildcat Invitational. Individually, sophomore Erica Blasberg remains in third, while sophomore Cassandra Kirkland dropped one to 51st.

Last Time On The Course: The Arizona women's golf team finished in ninth, after its final day of competition at their home tournament the Wildcat Invitational at Arizona National Golf Club in Tucson, Ariz. The Wildcats shot a 925 to trail tournament champion Vanderbilt by 56 strokes after the Commodores shot a 869. Ohio State (873) and UCLA (874) occupy second and third places, respectively. While California (884) and UNLV (897) finish out the top-five. Individually, Arizona sophomore Erica Blasberg tied for fifth place with UCLA's Hannah Jun after finishing 217 (+4). Sophomore Lani Elston tied for 34th after carding 230. Sophomore Cassandra Kirkland tied for 46th after shooting 21-over-par 234. Freshman Rachel Gavin tied for 61st place after shooting 244 at the tournament. While sophomore Whitney Welch shot a 262 to finish in 74th place. Also competing for Arizona, as an individual was Junior Mar Garcia finished in 19th place after carding 12-over-par 225. Junior Miriam Kraschinski tied for 34th place after shooting 17-over-par 230 at the tournament. While sophomore Katie Christy shot a 52-over-par 265 to tie for 75th place

Not Sweet Home: The Wildcats suffered their worst finish of the 2003-04 season at their home tournament, the Wildcat Invitational. Arizona finished ninth out of 15 teams on their home course, Arizona National. At the 2003 Wildcat Invitational the women's golfers placed ninth also.

Drivin' in the Rain: At the Wildcat Invitational on Monday, February 23 rain drenched Arizona National and the women golfers competing. Several player blamed the rain for their woes, while others flurished in the stormy conditions.

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.

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.

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.

New to the Greens: The Wildcat Invitational was the first event of the season for freshman Rachel Gavin. Gavin placed tied for 61st after shooting 31-over-par 244.

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.

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.