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Wildcats Headed to Sin City
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 10/23/2009
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Oct. 23, 2009

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Teeing Off: The Wildcts will bring a busy month of October to a close as the Wildcats tee off at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown in Boulder City, Nev. The Cats will then have a nearly four-month break before hosting the Wildcat Invitational in late February at the Arizona National Golf Club.

About the Course: Arizona will play 54 holes at the Boulder City Golf Club, a course that will be laid out over 6,233 yards and play at par 72. Play on Monday and Tuesday will begin at 7:30 a.m. while the final 18 holes on Friday will go off via a shotgun start at 8:00 a.m. (MST)

The Field: Only one Pac-10 team will join the Wildcats this week as Washington will also compete in the Las Vegas event. The remainder of the field includes host UNLV, Arkansas, BYU, Colorado, Colorado State, Florida, Idaho, Kent State, Louisville, Minnesota, Missouri, Northwestern, TCU, Texas Tech and UC Davis.

Tournament History: Arizona is making its first-ever appearance in the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown after using this slot in the schedule to take part in the Match Play Championships last season. Lisa McCloskey of Pepperdine shot 17-under par 199 last season to win the individual crown. The Waves also were the team champions with a three-day total of 41-under par 823.

Cats in the Polls: The Wildcats are still ranked #25 in the Golf World/NGCA Coaches Poll, released on September 30. However, the team is rated 22nd in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, a purely statistical comparison of all NCAA teams. Sophomore Margarita Ramos is the top-rated Arizona player in the individual comparisons, checking in at #29 with a rating of 71.54. Sophomore Isabelle Boineau is not far behind her, earning the #37 spot with a 71.91 rating.

Last Time Out: A strong opening round was spoiled for the second-straight event by disappointing second rounds as the Cats claimed 7th place at the Stanford Women's Intercollegiate at the Stanford Golf Course in Palo Alto, Calif. Arizona got off to another great start with an even par total of 284 on the par 71 course, but slipped on the second day with a team score of 301. Though the team responded to shoot 294 over the final round, their hopes of a top three finish were well in the rearview mirror. Ramos led the way for the Cats with three-straight rounds of 72.

Fast Starts: In all three tournaments this season, the Wildcats have played some of their best golf, shooting no worse than even par in any of the events. Arizona has shot even on day one of each of the last two events after posting a season-opening total of 2-under 286 at the Mason Rudolph Championships.

Day Two Trouble: Those fast starts have become a faded memory for the Wildcats as they have been unable to duplicate their opening round successes. The Wildcats jumped 19 shots day two of the Windy City Collegiate Championships and 17 strokes last time out at Stanford.

Head Coach Shelly Haywood: Beginning her third season as the head coach and sixth season overall is Shelly Haywood, a former two-time Big West selection at New Mexico State. Haywood is a member of the LPGA, the USGA Women's Amateur Public Links Committee and an honorary member of the Arizona Golf Association's Board of Governors. Haywood was named the LPGA National Coach of the Year in October 2005. She has coached five all-Americans and ten all-Pac-10 performers since coming to the U of A.

Coaches Corner: "We had individual meetings with each of the players this week and I explained to them that my perception is that they have not been focused enough after the first rounds of tournaments. We all came to an agreement on the things that we need to correct. They each have to focus on why they are at these tournaments and that they each have a job to do. I'm not sure if it's a lack of belief after the first rounds, but they need to have the mentality of trying to shoot under par after their great opening rounds."

Proud of Popelka: Freshman Sherlyn Popelka has played very steady golf for the Wildcats in her first two collegiate events and has impressed Haywood thus far. She is currently third on the team with a 74.17 scoring average and were it not for an unlikely 2-stroke penalty late in her second round at Stanford, she would have had an excellent chance of climbing into the top 30 of that event.

By The Numbers: With her first appearance of the season last week, Nikki Koller jumped to 8th in par 3 scoring with a 2.89 average. Isabelle Boineau is tied for 23rd in greens in regulation at .757. As a team, the Wildcats are 8th in par 3 scoring at 3.08.

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