April 23, 2009
Live Scoring/Webcast: The Pac-10 website will provide live scoring as well as a live webcast of play on the 18th hole at the Stanford Golf Course. A link to both feeds is available below.
Teeing Off: The Arizona women's golf team begins postseason play with high hopes as the Wildcats head into the 2009 Pac-10 Championships at the Stanford Golf Course in Palo Alto, Calif., as the #4-seeded team. Top-ranked UCLA is #1 while Arizona State and USC round out the top three.
About the Course: This week's event will be contested at the Stanford Golf Course, a par-72, 6,117-yard course. A course designed in the Parkland style, the course is known for its severe elevation changes and wealth of uneven lies. It does, however, favor a strong putting team like the Wildcats with relatively level putting surfaces. Arizona will send its first golfer, Nikki Koller, out at 9:10 a.m. (PST) on Friday, April 24 with Alejandra Llaneza rounding out the team at 9:42 a.m.
Paired Up: Based on an average of the GolfWeek Sagarin ratings and the Golfstat national golf rankings head-to-head standings, the Pac-10 teams were seeded as follows: #1 UCLA, #2 Arizona State, #3 USC, #4 Arizona, #5 California, #6 Stanford, #7 Oregon, #8 Washington, #9 Oregon State, #10 Washington State. For one of the few times this season, the players will compete in twosomes.
Qualifying Marks: Head coach Shelly Haywood made the decision to have every member of the team defend their place on the team and had them each go through qualification for the Pac-10 Championships, the first time the team has had to go through that process during her five-year tenure at Arizona.
Tournament History: Arizona will be looking to capture its 7th Pac-10 title in the 29th annual event. The Wildcats last held the hardware in 2002 as Lorena Ochoa finished the weekend at 1-under while current assistant coach Laura Myerscough was a solid 3-over for the 54-hole event. That victory closed out a stretch of three-straight titles for the Wildcats. Last season, the Cats finished 4th for the second year in a row and third time in four seasons.
Prowling the Pac-10: The Pac-10 Championships will be hosted by Stanford for the third time in its 29-year history. In the previous two events held at Stanford Golf Course in 1990 and 1999, Arizona finished 2nd on both occasions. The Cats have won just one of their conference crowns in the Golden State, winning the 1998 title at the Tijeras Creek Golf Club in Rancho Santa Margarita.
Cats in the Polls: The Wildcats enter this week ranked #21 in the most recent edition of the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, released on Sunday, April 19. Alejandra Llaneza is the team's highest-rated golfer with a ranking of #43 with a rating of 72.87. Arizona is also ranked #23 in the most recent Golf World/NGCA Coaches Poll, released on Tuesday, April 21. The Pac-10 boasts six of the top 25 teams in the poll, including each of the top three places.
Last Time Out: Arizona battled through windy conditions and a talented field to snag 7th place at the PING/ASU Invitational in Tempe just under three weeks ago. Alejandra Llaneza finished 5th overall thanks to a 5-under 67 in her second round to end up even par for the tournament. The Wildcats ended up shooting 898 as a team, finishing just one stroke behind UCLA. Oklahoma State won the team championship with a total of 881 while Maria Hernandez of Purdue took individual medalist honors after shooting 5-under 211.
Even Steven: By tallying her even-par three-day total of 216, Alejandra Llaneza gave the Wildcats their first tournament total of even par or better this season. Both Llaneza and Margarita Ramos have tallied 54-hole totals of +2 on the season, a score that served as the previous best for the team on the campaign. The last player to score par or better over at least 54 holes was Alison Walshe, who earned at tie for the individual title at the 2008 NCAA West Regional Tournament with a 6-under par total of 210 at the Lincoln Hills Golf Club Orchard Course last May.
Common Ground: While the Wildcats do not have a player such as Walshe who won tournaments throughout their career on this season's squad, head coach Shelly Haywood does have a team that is very balanced in its scoring. Starting with team leader Alejandra Llaneza and tracking down through this weeks #5 player, Nikki Koller, the five scoring players all have a season scoring average that is separated by just three shots. This balance has kept the Wildcats competitive throughout the season and gives Haywood the confidence that a complete effort over three rounds would give the Wildcats a chance to capture their 7th Pac-10 crown.
Let's Hear From Haywood: "I am very excited about this weekend. We led on this course after 27 holes and the entire team played great. I think I have such high expectations because I know we can play well here. Amanda and Alejandra know this course very well. For us to be successful, it's all about our mental preparation. That is something we will prepare for in our practice rounds and try to work on the holes that could cause us some problems. In my mind, all double bogeys are mental mistakes. We expect the players to make some physical mistakes and everyone is going to have a bogey, but we can't afford the mental errors. If we eliminate our mental mistakes, we could have won several events this season. Another great thing about this team is that the team has had a different look in almost every event. Most of them have played in almost every position this season, and they have all picked each other up when one has a bad round. We need two or three players to shoot par or better and we will win this event."
Statistical Standouts: The lastest Golfstat.com statistical report shows that Alejandra Llaneza is 3rd in total short game at .642 while Margarita Ramos is 9th at .590. Llaneza also checks in at #9 in putts on greens in regulation at 1.833 and 13th in par 4 scoring at 4.08. As a team, the Wildcats are 3rd in total short game as a unit at .510 and 9th in putts on greens in regulation at 1.909.
Next Up: The postseason continues as the Wildcats should receive a bid to one of three NCAA Regional sites with play scheduled for the weekend of May 8-10. The field will be announced on Monday, April 27 just after 1 p.m. Should the Cats remain in the West Region, they would make the short trip north to play at the ASU Karsten Course in Tempe, a place the team will have competed just one month prior.