May 5, 2010
Teeing Off: The 2010 postseason reaches its hopeful midway point for Arizona this weekend as the Wildcats will take part in the NCAA West Regional at the Stanford Golf Course in Palo Alto, Calif.
About the Course: The Stanford Golf Course was constructed in 1930 by architects William Bell and George C. Thomas, Jr. and is located in the foothills above the university campus. The course is laid out over a par-71, 6,103-yard track.
The Field: Making its 18th-straight regional appearance, Arizona comes into the West Regional as the #7 overall seed and third seed in the region behind top-seeded UCLA and #6-overall seed Alabama. The remainder of the field includes, in alphabetical order: Arkansas, California, Colorado State, Idaho, Iowa State, LSU, Maryland, Ohio State, Oral Roberts, Pennsylvania, Portland State, San Francisco, San Jose State, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas State, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UNLV and Virginia.
Follow Along: For fans unable to make the trip to Northern California, there are several ways to follow along with the action at the regional tournament. Live scoring will be available at www.golfstat.com once play begins on Thursday morning. There will also be a live Twitter feed with updates on pin positions, weather conditions and more. Click here for the Twitter feed from the Stanford Golf Course.
Tournament History: Arizona will be looking to grab its fifth regional crown after last winning in 2001 at the Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis, Ore. The Wildcats have made two previous regional appearances at the Stanford Golf Course, winning the 1998 regional tournament before finishing 4th in 2002. Last season, Arizona made a late charge to claim 7th at the regional tournament at the Karsten Golf Club in Tempe, Ariz. Alison Walshe was the last Arizona golfer to win an individual regional championship, finishing atop the leaderboard at the 2008 West Regional at the Lincoln Hill Golf Club Orchard Course in Lincoln, Calif.
Cats in the Polls: Arizona moved up one more spot to #7 in the latest Golf World/NGCA Coaches Poll, released on May 5. The Wildcats even further up the board to #3 with a 72.03 rating in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, a purely statistical comparison of all NCAA teams. Sophomore Margarita Ramos is the highest rated player in the individual performance charts, checking in at 23rd position with a 71.68 rating. Sophomore Isabelle Boineau is 33rd overall with a 72.06 personal rating while Sherlyn Popelka also sits in the top 50, holding the 38th spot at 72.29.
Last Time Out: Despite trailing by nine shots with just 12 holes to play, Arizona made a furious rally and came from behind to win the 2010 Pac-10 Tournament at the Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore. Sophomore Margarita Ramos tied for 3rd place overall at 3-over par as the Wildcats shot even-par 288 and ended up at 14-over par 878. Arizona edged top-ranked UCLA by three shots to win the 7th conference title in program history and first since the 2002 campaign. Isabelle Boineau finished in a tie for 10th place while Nikki Koller and Sherlyn Popelka shared 14th place to give the Wildcats four players finishing in the top 20.
Postseason Particulars: The Pac-10 championship also came with an automatic berth into this week's regional tournament for the Wildcats. However, to advance to their 25th NCAA Championship tournament, the Wildcats will have to finish in no worse than 8th place to be one of 24 teams to compete in the 72-hole event at The Country Club of Landfall's Pete Dye Course in Wilmington, N.C. on May 18-21.
Going Low: The five players competing in the NCAA West Regional for the Wildcats have each taken their turn posting low numbers during the regular season. With Nikki Koller carding a final-round 68 at the PING/ASU Invitational, the fivesome has carded 30 rounds on the season of par or better. Four of the five players have shot 68 in a round at least once while Sherlyn Popelka posted back-to-back rounds of 69 to help earn her individual title at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown in November.
Pack Mentality: In two of the three rounds at the Pac-10 Tournament, the Wildcats had their four scoring players shoot rounds that all grouped within two shots or less of each other. In the opening round, three Arizona players shot 73 while one other shot 74. In the final round of play, the Cats posted a 71, two rounds of 72 and one 73. Those tallies reflect the overall scoring average of the top five players who are separated by just 1.83 shots per round over the entire season.
Fast Starts: In its nine tournaments this season, the Wildcats have played some of their best golf in the opening round, shooting par or better five times. Arizona shot even on day one of two events after posting a season-opening total of 2-under 286 at the Mason Rudolph Championships before firing a 4-under par round of 284 at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown and 5-under par at the Bruin Wave Invitational. The Wildcats have averaged 289.4 in their first 18 holes of team play, an average of a little above 1-over par.
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.
By The Numbers: Arizona has a number of players ranking among the top in the country in a number of statistical categories. Alejandra Llaneza and Isabelle Boineau are tied for 14th in par 3 scoring at 3.05, Margarita Ramos is 21st in par 4 scoring at 4.09 and Sherlyn Popelka is 22nd in par 5 scoring at 4.88. Ramos is also 17th in greens in regulation at .709 while Popelka is 10th in putts on greens in regulation at 1.844. As a team, the Wildcats are 2nd in par 3 scoring at 3.14, 7th in par 4 scoring at 4.20 and 3rd in par 5 scoring 4.96. The Cats are also 8th in subpar strokes per round at 2.47, 9th in fairways hit at .789, 7th in greens in regulation at .656, 3rd in putts on greens in regulation at 1.883 and 4th in total short game at .514.