March 12, 2003
Teeing Off: Arizona goes tropical as it heads to the Dr. Thompson Rainbow Invitational in Honolulu, Hawaii, on March 18 and 19. The 54-hole tournament will be contested over the Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course, a par-72 layout.
Participating Teams: Arizona, Arkansas State, Arkansas Tech, Hawaii, Hawaii-JV, Kansai (Japan), Kansas State, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Orleans, Osaka Gaukin (Japan), Rollins, Southern California, Weber State, Wichita State, Yale.
Wildcat Lineup and 2002-03 Statistics:
Golfer Year Avg. Top 10/20 Low Rnd. Events Laura Myerscough Sr. 75.90 0/1 71 4 Miriam Kraschinski So. 76.05 2/1 70 6 Anne Lee Sr. 75.93 2/0 70 6 Mar Garcia So. 77.16 0/1 73 2 Cassandra Kirkland Fr. 74.66 0/1 72 1 Julia Kraschinski* Sr. 78.53 0/0 73 5 * competing as an individual
Last Time Out at the Wildcat Invitational: Freshman Erica Blasberg won her second career title as she took medalist honors at the Wildcat Invitational with a three-round score of 210 (-3). But Blasberg's individual effort was not enough to lift Arizona out of ninth place as the Wildcats combined to shoot 912 (+60) over the three-day tournament held at Arizona National Golf Club. Pepperdine placed four individual golfers in the tournament's top ten to claim the team title at 876 (+24). Blasberg was the only golfer in the field to finish the tournament under par after closing with a final-round 68 (-3). 2003 marks the third straight year an Arizona individual has won the title at the Wildcat Invitational. Fellow freshman Cassandra Kirkland made an impressive collegiate debut as she finished tied for 19th place with a three-day total of 224 (+11). Senior Laura Myerscough posted a total of 227 (+14) to finish in 25th place, her fourth top-25 showing in four events this season. Anne Lee, a senior from Northridge, Calif., tied for 50th place at 234 (+21). Sophomore Miriam Kraschinski shared 71st, while freshman Whitney Welch carded a three-round total of 261 (+48) to tie for 95th place.
Last Year in Hawaii: At the Hawaii Fall Invitational, the fourth-ranked Wildcats claimed second place after finishing 21 strokes behind tournament champion New Mexico. Lorena Ochoa won her third tournament championship of the season as she closed action at 2-over-par 218. Arizona shot a final-round 302, its best round of the 54-hole tournament. California posted a three-round team total of 911 to wrap up the tournament six strokes back of the Wildcats in third place. The win was the seventh of Ochoa's career. The Guadalajara, Mexico, native's streak of consecutive top-three finishes reached 12 tournaments after competing in Hawaii. Junior Laura Myerscough posted another top-15 finish, closing the tournament at 12-over-par 228 to tie for 14th. Junior Anne Lee, from Northridge, Calif., finished tied for 22nd place at 14-over-par 230. Also scoring for Arizona were senior Cathie Williamson and freshman Miriam Kraschinski. Williamson tied for 36th, while Kraschinski took 54th place.
Cats in the Polls: The Wildcats moved to third in the most recent edition of the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, released Monday, March 10. Individually, Erica Blasberg remained the nation's top-rated golfer. Senior Laura Myerscough is the only other Wildcat in the top 50 as she is rated No. 44.
LPGA Action: Freshman Erica Blasberg will not compete with her fellow Wildcats this week in Hawaii after competing in the LPGA's Welch's/Fry's Championship in Tucson. Blasberg's appearance marks the third consecutive year a current Wildcat has entered the field after Lorena Ochoa competed as an amateur in 2001 and 2002.
Out of It: Arizona's ninth-place finish at the Wildcat Invitational marks the first time in nine tournaments that the team has finished an event out of the top five. In March 2002, the Wildcats took ninth place at the weather-marred Betsy Rawls Invitational, marking the last time Arizona finished out of the top five.
Kirkland Kicks In: Freshman Cassandra Kirkland made an impressive debut in her first collegiate competition at the Wildcat Invitational. The freshman from Saint-Nom-La-Breteche, France, tied for 19th place with a 54-hole score of 224 (+11). Her stroke average after one event stands at 74.66, good for second on the team.
Six Pack: Through six events this season, six different Arizona golfers have registered top-20 finishes, making head coach Greg Allen's task of setting the Arizona lineup that much more difficult. With talented golfers all over the UA roster, Allen believes there are eight golfers who can compete for first place any week. This season, three different Wildcats have earned two or more top-10 finishes, while three others have registered top-20 finishes.
Foreign Flavor: The Arizona women's golf team has boasted a number of foreign stars in recent years and the 2003 squad is no exception. Four Wildcats call countries other than the United States home. Mar Garcia is a native of Spain, Julia and Miriam Kraschinski hail from New Zealand, and Cassandra Kirkland is from France.
Wild Weather: The high scores from Arizona's spring-opening tournament reflect the poor conditions in Palos Verdes, Calif., at Palos Verdes Golf Club. Heavy rain, strongs winds and harsh temperatures hampered play throughout the tournament and eventually caused the cancellation of the tournament's final round.
Fab Freshmen: Following the tradition of freshmen success in the UA women's golf program, Erica Blasberg has emerged as the Wildcats' most consistent performer and is rated No. 2 nationally. She joins other freshmen phenoms such as Annika Sorenstam, Marisa Baena, Natalie Gulbis and Lorena Ochoa as individuals who have won tournaments in their first season in the program.
Career Best: Senior Anne Lee notched a career best low round when she shot 2-under-par 70 in the second round of the Auburn Tiger-Derby Invitational. Her 54-hole score (220, +5) at the Auburn tournament was only two shots off of her 54-hole career best, set at the 2001 Wildcat Invitational. By placing 10th at the Auburn Tiger-Derby Invitational, Lee posted her second top-10 of the season and third of her career.
Tough Room: Freshman Erica Blasberg is around top-notch student-athletes while on the golf course and in McKale Center. But even at home in her dorm, Blasberg is still accompanied by another elite student-athlete. Blasberg shares her dorm room with Kim Glass of the UA volleyball team. Glass was named national freshman of the year and a second-team All-American for her efforts this season.
Myerscough in Malaysia: Senior Laura Myerscough missed action at the Stanford-Pepsi Intercollegiate beacuse of her participation in the World Amateur Golf Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Myerscough tied for 21st place individually and helped the United States' three woman squad to fifth place in the 39-team tournament. The Stanford-Pepsi Intercollegiate marked the first Arizona tournament Myerscough missed since the Golf World Invitational in November of 2000.
Doing the Solo Thing: With individual victories by Erica Blasberg and Miriam Kraschinski so far this season, 17 Arizona women have won medalist honors in the history of the program. Dating to 1977, those 17 golfers have combined for 59 tournament championships. The 2002-03 season is the 10th time in the last 15 years that at least two Wildcats have each won an individual tournament title.
Grand Opening: Arizona kicked off its 2002-03 season in style, taking the title at the Fall Preview. The Wildcats received consistent performances from each member of the lineup--helping the team to card three sub-300 rounds. The team only accomplished that feat twice in the 2001-02 season, at the PING/ASU Invitational and in its second-place showing at the NCAA Championships.
Kool Kraschinski: Sophomore Miriam Kraschinski won her first career individual title at the Fall Preview in September, the tournament saw her set a number of career bests. In addition to her career best first place finish, the sophomore from Whitianga, New Zealand shot her best single round score (70 in the second and third rounds of the Preview) and her best three-round tournament score (215). Her subpar performances in the final two rounds of the Preview marked the first time in her career that she has broken par.
On From the AJGA: Freshmen Erica Blasberg and Whitney Welch enter the University of Arizona with impressive junior golf resumes and are expected to have a significant impact on the Wildcat lineup immediately. Both have been named to the American Junior Golf Association's All-America teams on multiple occasions. Welch was named to the AJGA's All-America first-team in 2001 and won honorable mention honors in 2000. Blasberg was honored as an All-American by the AJGA three consecutive years; winning first-team honors in 2000 and second-team honors in 2001 and 1999.
Arizona Championship Streak: Arizona extended its streak of years in which it has won a team title to eight after it captured the title at the NCAA Fall Preview in September. The last Arizona team to go winless was the 1994-95 squad, which had five top-five finishes. During the eight-season streak, Arizona has produced two national championship teams, five Pac-10 titles, four NCAA West Regional titles and 35 total tournament championships. Included in that stretch was the 1999-2000 team that won eight consecutive events.
Wildcat Coaching Staff: A five-year college coaching veteran, Greg Allen has led the Arizona Wildcats to eight tournament championships in just over two years at the helm of the program. Included in the team's accomplishments under Allen's watch 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. In the summer of 2001, he paired with Arizona men's head coach Rick LaRose to coach the United States team to victory in 2001 U.S.-Japan Collegiate Matches. Allen, hired in July 2000, came 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. 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. He is assisted by Jody Niemann-Dansie, who was hired in July 2002. Niemann-Dansie 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 teams in Tempe.