Sept. 14, 2001
TUCSON, Ariz. - After claiming six tournament championships last season, the Arizona women's golf team will open the 2001-02 campaign ranked No. 4 in Golf World magazine's preseason college coaches' poll. 2001 Player of the Year Lorena Ochoa will begin her sophomore season as the nation's top-ranked golfer.
Ochoa, from Guadalajara, Mexico, finished no lower than third place in the final nine tournaments of 2000-01, taking medalist honors four times. She finished her freshman season with a stroke average of 71.33 and shot par or better in 22 of the 30 rounds she played. Named National Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year by the National Golf Coaches Association, Ochoa placed second at the 2001 NCAA Championships, falling in a sudden-death playoff to Duke's Candy Hannemann.
The Wildcats return four players from a lineup that was ranked No. 1 or No. 2 for the entire 2000-01 season. Arizona received 346 points and one first place vote in the voting done by college coaches throughout the nation. Topping the poll is Duke (320), while Auburn (399) and Texas (364) are also ranked ahead of the Wildcats in second and third, respectively. Georgia and Tulsa round out the top five, tied with 313 points each.
Also garnering recognition from Golf World's poll is Arizona sophomore Julia Kraschinski, whom the magazine listed as part of the "50 College Players to Watch." Kraschinski missed the majority of last season with back injuries. The New Zealand native will look to return to the form that earned her a second-place finish at the 2000 NCAA Championships, just three strokes behind champion and former teammate Jenna Daniels.
The Wildcats were scheduled to open the season this weekend at the Dick McGuire Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M., but withdrew in light of the tragedies in New York and Washington D.C. Arizona will be in action at the NCAA Fall Preview in Auburn, Wash., on Sept. 24-26.
Rank School (1st Place Votes) Points
1. Duke (13) 420
2. Auburn (2) 399
3. Texas 364
4. ARIZONA (1) 346
5. Georgia (1) 313
5. Tulsa 313
Rank Golfer, School Year
1. LORENA OCHOA, Arizona Soph.
2. Candy Hannemann, Duke Sr.
3. Meredith Duncan, LSU Sr.
4. Celeste Troche, Auburn Jr.
5. Virada Nirapathpongporn, Duke Soph.