Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Lady Golfers Seek Third Title of Season at GolfWorld Invitational
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: June 22, 2004
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    This Week: Arizona's women's golf team travels to Hilton Head Island, S.C. this weekend to participate in the Rolex/Golf World/Palmetto Dunes Collegiate Invitational. The 54-hole, 12-team tournament will take place on the Arthur Hills Course at Palmetto Hall Plantation. Play runs Friday, Nov. 3, to Sunday, Nov. 5 on the par-72, 6,257 yard course. The defending national champion Wildcats have won their last two tournaments by a combined 11 strokes. Last year, Arizona outshot Duke by one stroke to capture the Golf World Invitational title.

    Last Time Out: The Wildcats raced to a 15-shot lead after one round of the Stanford/Pepsi Invitational, then held on to come away with their second tournament title of the season. Individually, three Arizona golfers finished in the top 10. The Wildcats' freshmen duo of Lorena Ochoa and Natalie Gulbis shot a combined eleven strokes under par in the first round. Ochoa's 66 was the second-lowest round ever by Arizona freshman, while Gulbis' 67 was good for the third best round ever by a Wildcat freshman. Ochoa finished competition in second place with a three-under par 213, three strokes back of individual champion Stacy Prammanasudh of Tulsa. Gulbis tied for fifth after closing the tournament with rounds of 73 and 77 for a one-over-par total of 217. Junior Cristina Baena, the nation's top-ranked individual, earned a tie for ninth place with her five-over-par 221. Also scoring for the Wildcats were senior Christina Monteiro, 78-78-82=232 (+11), and sophomore Laura Myerscough, 80-73-82=235 (+19). Sophomore Anne Lee competed as an individual and finished in a tie for 54th with a 16-over-par 232. The tournament victory was Arizona's second of the young season.

    The Lineup:
    Golfer          	Yr.     Notes
    Lorena Ochoa    	Fr.     71.75 stroke avg., ranked No. 1 
    by Golfweek magazine and
    				No. 3 by the College Golf Foundation
    Natalie Gulbis  	Fr.     72.33 stroke avg., ranked No. 3 by 
    Golfweek magazine,
    				shot a 67 in her first round of collegiate competition
    Cristina Baena  	Jr.     73.37 stroke avg., the nation's 
    top-ranked golfer in the
    				MasterCard Collegiate Golf Rankings, three top 10 
    Christina Monteiro      Sr.     76.87 stroke avg., shot low 
    round of the year (70)
    				on day two of the NCAA Fall Preview
    Christelle Cuzon        Sr.     76.66 stroke avg., tied for 
    27th place at Comcast/Dick
    				McGuire Invitational 

    The Field: All 12 teams competing in the Golf World Invitational are ranked in the nation's top 15 according to the MasterCard Collegiate Golf Rankings. Nine of the top 10 teams will participate in the tournament.

    Last Year at the Golf World Invitational: The Cats took home their second title of the season at 1999's Golf World Invitational. As a team, the Wildcats finished with a score of 875, 11-over-par, at Arthur Hills Course at Palmetto Hall Plantation. Senior Jenna Daniels won the individual title with a three-round score of 7-under-par 209. Senior Jill Gomric finished tied for sixth place with a 3-over-par 219, while Cristina Baena finished the tournament tied for 11th place (5-over-par 221) and Julia Kraschinski tied for 20th place (10-over-par 226). Rounding out the Wildcat lineup was senior Christina Monteiro who finished tied for 40th, shooting a three-day total of 20-over-par 236. The win was the first in a streak of eight consecutive tournament championships for the Wildcats that culminated in their 21-stroke victory at the NCAA Championships.

    Fabulous Freshmen: Arizona's freshmen tandem of Lorena Ochoa and Natalie Gulbis are already off to impressive starts in their initial campaigns with the Wildcat golf program. The two currently occupy the one and two spots on the team and are both highly-ranked in national polls. According to the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, Ochoa is currently the top Division I golfer in the nation, while Gulbis checks in at No. 3. The two combined to go 11 shots under par in round one of the Stanford/Pepsi Invitational. Ochoa shot a 66(-6) and Gulbis, in her first round of collegiate golf ever, checked in with a 67 (-5), both rounds rank near the top on the all-time record list for Arizona freshmen. Marisa Baena shot a seven-under-par 65 in May 1996 for the lowest round ever by a Wildcat freshman and Annika Sorenstam carded a five-under 67 at the Stanford Invitational in October 1990 for the third-best round by a UA freshman.

    Ochoa's Accolades: The personal honors have begun to pour in for Arizona freshman sensation Lorena Ochoa. After a ninth-place finish in her first career collegiate competition, Ochoa ran away with the individual crown at the Comcast/Dick McGuire Invitational. She led the tournament wire-to-wire, shooting a four-under 69 on day one and wrapping up action at seven-under-par 212. Her performance earned her a pair of awards. Golf World magazine named Ochoa its Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 29. Ochoa was later honored by the College Golf Foundation as the Rolex College Golfer of the Month for September. Additionally, Ochoa made her debut in the latest edition of the MasterCard Collegiate Golf Rankings at No. 3. Ochoa continued her outstanding fall season at the Stanford/Pepsi Invitational by shooting a first round 66. Her six-under-par performance was the second best round ever by an Arizona freshman, behind only Marisa Baena's seven-under 65 in May 1996 at the NCAA West Regionals.

    Cats In the Polls: Arizona maintained its perch atop the MasterCard Collegiate Golf Rankings in the latest edition of the poll. The Wildcats, who had been tabbed as the Collegiate Golf Foundation's preseason No. 1, received 316 votes, 20 more than No. 2 Duke. Arizona's Cristina Baena moved into the nation's top spot from her preseason ranking of No. 2. Freshman Lorena Ochoa debuts in the poll at No. 3 after her performance at the Dick McGuire Invitational. Also ranked for the Wildcats is sophomore Julia Kraschinski, who checks in at No. 18. Kraschinski has been out of action due to an injured back, but was an integral part of last season's national championship performance. The Wildcats currently stand at No. 2 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings behind the Duke Blue Devils. Freshman standouts Ochoa and Natalie Gulbis check in at Nos. 1 and 3 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings. Baena ranks seventh according to the magazine's poll.

    Injury Update: Sophomore Julia Kraschinski is still out of action due to serious disc problems in her back. If her condition improves, Kraschinski may return for the spring season. Kraschinski capped off her freshman season with a second place finish at the NCAA Championships, finishing just three strokes behind individual National Champion and teammate Jenna Daniels. Kraschinski competed in all 11 of the Wildcats' tournaments as a freshman and had a stroke average of 74.88.

    2000 National Champions: The Wildcats topped off a dominant season in which they won nine tournaments by a combined total of 73 shots by capturing the 2000 National Championship in May. The title is the school's second in the last five years. Arizona turned in one of the most dominating performances in the 19-year history of the national championship tournament. Second-place Stanford finished trailing Arizona by 21 strokes, the third-largest margin in NCAA Championship history. Three Wildcat golfers finished in the top 10 at the championships, held at Crosswater Course in Sunriver, Ore. Alumna Jenna Daniels took the individual title with a one-under par 287, sophomore Julia Kraschinski finished in second, and junior Cristina Baena tied for tenth.

    Wildcat Coaching Staff: Coach Greg Allen, who was hired in late July, comes 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. Allen graduated from Murray State University in 1993. Coach Allen is assisted by Amy Solfisburg who is in her eighth year with the Wildcat women's golf program. Solfisburg attended the University of Arizona and is a native of Michigan.

    Reloading, not rebuilding: Arizona loses three letterwinners from last year's national championship team, including 1999-2000 seniors Jenna Daniels and Jill Gomric. But more significant is who returns for the Cats. Junior Cristina Baena, sophomore Julia Kraschinski, and senior Christina Monteiro are back, all three played in each of the Wildcats' 11 tournaments last year. Together, the three averaged 74.66 in 1999-2000. Factor in freshmen Lorena Ochoa, Nancy Abiecunas, and Natalie Gulbis and the return of redshirt sophomore Laura Myerscough and Arizona appears poised for another title run. Ochoa qualified in the No. 1 spot for the Wildcats heading into the year's first tournament, the NCAA Preview. She reached the semifinals of the 1999 U.S. Women's Amateur and the quarterfinals of the 2000 U.S. Women's Amateur. Abiecunas comes to Tucson after a high school career that saw her win five American Junior Golf Association tournament titles and be named First Team All-American in 1999. Gulbis won the U.S. High School Championship in 1999 by 21 shots. Myerscough comes off a summer that saw her advance to the finals of this year's U.S. Women's Amateur. Baena was named to the All-Pac-10 First Team, as well as earning an honorable mention on the All-Academic Pac-10 team. Monteiro and Kraschinski were both selected to All-Pac-10 honorable mention team.


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