May 6, 2009
Teeing Off: For the second time in just over a month, the Arizona women’s golf team will compete at the ASU Karsten Golf Course, but this time with much more on the line as the Wildcats are one of 21 teams competing in the 2009 NCAA West Regional Tournament. The event runs May 7-9 in Tempe.
About the Course: This week’s event will be contested at the ASU Karsten Golf Course, a par-72, 6,230-yard course. The course is a Pete Dye, Scottish links style course with rolling hills and railroad ties. The course was awarded a 4.5 star rating by the prestigious Golf Digest Rating Panel and features Dye’s signature mounding and creative bunkering.
Paired Up: The 21 teams invited to participate in the West Regional tournament are as follows: 1. Arizona State (Pac-10 champion), 2. USC, 3. LSU, 4. Pepperdine, 5. Arkansas, 6. San Jose State (WAC champion), 7. ARIZONA, 8. California, 9. UC Irvine, 10. San Francisco, 11. UNLV, 12. TCU, 13. Texas A&M, 14. Oregon, 15. Long Beach State (Big West champion), 16. Colorado, 17. Texas, 18. Baylor, 19. Oral Roberts (The Summit League champion), 20. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Southland Conference champion), 21. Northern Arizona (Big Sky champion).
Arizona Lineup (Name, Yr., Scoring Average, Top 10/20, Low Round, Events)
1. Alejandra Llaneza - So., 73.35, 1/2, 67, 7
2. Isabelle Boineau - Fr., 75.68, 1/2, 70, 9
3. Amanda Wilson - Sr., 75.04, 2/0, 70, 8
4. Margarita Ramos - Fr., 75.52, 0/1, 70, 8
5. Nikki Koller - Fr., 76.10, 0/1, 69, 7
Tournament History: Arizona will be looking to capture its 4th regional championship and first since the Wildcats claimed the second of back-to-back titles in 2001. Last season, the Wildcats finished 4th overall at the Lincoln Hill Golf Club Orchard Course in Lincoln, Calif. Alison Walshe tied for 1st place with a 6-under par total of 210 while USC is the defending champion. Returning players Alejandra Llaneza and Amanda Wilson were +12 and +13, respectively, in last season’s tournament.
Early Birds: The Wildcats will be one of the first three teams to hit the course on Thursday morning as they are paired with Pac-10 rival California as well as Big West foe UC Irvine with the #5 players leading things off on the first hole at 7:10 a.m. The rest of the team will tee off one by one in 10-minute increments.
Cats in the Polls: The Wildcats enter this week ranked #20 with a team rating of 74.20 in the most recent edition of the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, released on Thursday, April 30. Alejandra Llaneza is the team’s highest-rated golfer with a ranking of #42 and an individual rating of 72.87. Arizona is also ranked #20 in the most recent Golf World/NGCA Coaches Poll, released on Wednesday, May 6.The Pac-10 boasts six of the top 25 teams in the poll, including each of the top three places.
Last Time Out: Seeded 4th heading into the 2009 Pac-10 Championships on the Stanford Golf Course, the Wildcats stayed true to form by finishing in that same position after the 54-hole event. Freshman Nikki Koller led the way for the Wildcats, sharing 12th position at 6-over par after firing a final round total of 71. Llaneza was just a shot behind her rookie teammate at 7-over to claim a share of 16th overall. The Wildcats shot 884 as a team while Arizona State captured the team title at 852.
And The Winner Is: Alejandra Llaneza and Amanda Wilson were both honored with all-Pac-10 Conference team recognition when the all-conference teams were announced at the Pac-10 Tournament. After earning honorable mention selection as a freshman, Llaneza moved up to the 2nd Team in her sophomore campaign while Wilson was chosen to the honorable mention list. Last season, Alison Walshe was a 1st-team honoree to join Llaneza.
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 5th NCAA regional title.
Walshe Working Way Up: Last season’s NCAA West Regional champion Alison Walshe has been inching closer to her first professional victory as she plays her first season on the Duramed FUTURES Tour. A three-time individual winner last season for the Wildcats, Walshe had her best-ever finish this past weekend as she finished in a tie for second place at the Texas Hill Country Classic in San Antonio, Tex. Walshe finished at 6-under par for the event, giving her a 4th top-10 finish in five starts in 2009. She is currently 6th on the money list with $17,710 in earnings and is 3rd in scoring average at 72.308 that includes a top position in sub-par holes with 46 and a tour-leading 45 birdies.
Statistical Standouts: The lastest Golfstat.com statistical report shows that Alejandra Llaneza is 3rd in total short game at .633 while Margarita Ramos is 11th at .582. Llaneza also checks in at #18 in putts on greens in regulation at 1.854 and 19th in par 4 scoring at 4.11. As a team, the Wildcats are 3rd in total short game at .513 and 10th in putts on greens in regulation at 1.919.
Next Up: The Wildcats will be hoping to conclude the 2008-09 season on the biggest stage with a berth to the 2009 NCAA Championships, which will take place May 20-23 at the Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland. The four-round event will consist of 24 teams looking to dethrone USC for the right to become national champion.