March 18, 2009
Teeing Off: A busy month of March continues for the Wiildcats as they make their only trip to the state of Texas for the 2008-09 season to take part in the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational hosted by the University of Texas. Live scoring of each round will be available via GolfStat at www.golfstat.com. Results from each day will also be available later each day at www.TexasSports.com.
About the Course: This week’s event will be contested at the University of Texas Golf Club, a par-72, 6,324-yard course that was designed by Bechtol Russell and opened in 2003. Play will begin at 8:15 a.m. (CST) on Friday and Saturday with a split-tee start while action on Sunday goes off with a shotgun start at 8:45 a.m.
Invitation Only: While this week’s event will not be quite as loaded as the past several, there will still be a number of teams participating that were included in the latest GolfWeek/Sagarin Performance Rankings. The Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational will include: #1 Arizona State, #9 Duke, #11 LSU, #13 Purdue, #14 Vanderbilt, #20 Arizona and #22 Arkansas as well as Notre Dame, New Mexico, Texas A&M, Central Florida, Furman, South Carolina, Chattanooga, Tulsa, Florida State, Oklahoma and the host Longhorns.
Veterans Day: The Wildcats will enter this week’s event without its two lowest scoring players. Sophomore Alejandra Llaneza and freshman Margarita Ramos each qualifed to play in the LPGA Mastercard Classic in Huixquilcan, Mexico. Their absence gives the opportunity for veteran players Amanda Wilson and Emily Mason to make their mark for the Cats deep in the heart of Texas.
Tournament History: New Mexico won the event last year while Stacy Lewis of Arkansas was the individual medalist. The last time the Wildcats took place in the event was the 2002 season in which the team finished in 9th place. Current assistant coach Laura Myerscough was one of three Wildcats to share 24th place overall.
Cats in the Polls: The Wildcats enter this week ranked #20 in the most recent edition of the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, released on Sunday, March 8. Alejandra Llaneza is the team’s highest-rated golfer with a ranking of #63 with a rating of 73.16. Arizona dropped one notch to #21 in the latest Golf World/NGCA Coaches’ Poll, released on Wednesday, March 4.
Let’s Hear From Haywood: “We are going to be without our two top players, Alejandra Llaneza and Margarita Ramos. We are very excited to have them represent their home country of Mexico and Arizona Golf. Margarita was the lone amateur to make the cut in the same event last year. I look for both of them to play well and come back ready for the ASU event. It’s always tough to tee it up without your two best players, but the experience they will gain playing in this will make them both much better players and that much more prepared for the postseason.”
Last Time Out: An up-and-down three days of play ended up with the Wildcats claiming 12th place at the UCF Challenge in Sorrento, Fla. Llaneza led the way at +2 for the 54-hole event. The Wildcats were on the verge of a top 10 finish, but gave away a few shots late to drop to their final placement. The deep and talented field was bunched up to where the Cats were just three shots out of 8th place, six shots out of 6th place and 11 shots from finishing in 4th position.
Coaches Corner: “We shined in spots last week and we had some low spots, too. The field last week was the best field we will see all season until the NCAA Tournament and we hovered around the top five most of the week. We showed that over the course of the tournament, we can compete with any team in the country. I think we are ready to step it up a notch and when we get back to full strength, we are going to be very, very tough.”
Rubbing Elbows: Both Llaneza and Ramos will get the chance to show off their skills against the best players in the world as each has earned an exemption to play in the 5th Annual LPGA MasterCard Classic at BosqueReal Country Club in Huixquilucan, just outside of Mexico City. The event will include eight of the top 10 players in the world and 13 of the top 20, including former Wildcat Lorena Ochoa and defending tournament champion Louise Friberg. The event is a 54-hole tournament on a par-72, 6,892-yard course.
Second Half Standout: After learning the ropes of collegiate golf during her first semester of play, freshman Nikki Koller has come back in the Spring as an improved player and her scores through two events have backed that up. After averaging 78.56 in three Fall tournaments, Koller has battled back to lower her overall scoring almost two full shots to 76.67. Take out her opening-round 79 at the Wildcat Invitational and her Spring average would be 72.80, sparked by a career-low 69 in round two of the Wildcat Invitational.
Statistical Standouts: The lastest Golfstat.com statistical report shows that Alejandra Llaneza is 10th in Total Short Game with a .610 rating while Margarita Ramos is 22nd. Llaneza is also 23rd in the NCAA in par 4 scoring at 4.09, but is just .03 away from jumping into the top 10. As a team, the Wildcats are 7th in par 3 scoring at 3.14, 7th in Total Short Game at.502 and 8th in Putts in Greens in Regulation at 1.894.
Next Up: Arizona will send its junior varsity squad out next at the Mountain View Collegiate event, March 28-29 at the Mountain View Golf Club in Saddlebrook, Arizona. The event will be hosted by the University of Colorado. The full Arizona squad returns to action April 3-5 at the PING/ASU Invitational played at the Karsten Golf Course in Tempe.