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Women's Golf To Make Ninth Straight Appearance At NCAA Championships
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 05/15/2003
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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May 15, 2003

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The Tee Box: Arizona returns to West Lafayette, Ind., and Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex for the NCAA Championships. The Wildcats won the season-opening NCAA Fall Preview at the Kampen Golf Course. With the 2003 appearance, Arizona has now participated in the last nine NCAA Women's Golf Championships and has claimed two National Championships. Practice rounds are slated for Sunday and Monday, while championship play begins Tuesday, May 20. Teams will play 18 holes each day, Tuesday through Friday.

Schedule: Tuesday's opening round will see Arizona tee off from the No. 1 tee at 8:10 a.m. through 8:50 a.m. The Wildcats begin the second round at 12:10 p.m. through 12:50 p.m. from the No. 10 tee. Arizona will be paired with Nebraska and either Arizona State or Ohio State in the opening two rounds. Third round and final round pairings will be determined by team standing following each day.

Course: Purdue University serves as the host for the 2003 NCAA Women's Golf Championships at its Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex. Kampen Golf Course is the tournament course and plays to a yardage of 6,225 and a par of 72.

Some Tournament Themes: Arizona seeks its third national championship in university women's golf history and the first of the Greg Allen era... Confidence abounds as the Wildcats return to the site of their three-stroke victory at the season-opening NCAA Fall Preview also held at Kampen Golf Course... A year after coming oh-so-close to winning the NCAA title with a top-heavy team that featured college golf's Player of the Year in Lorena Ochoa, Arizona employs a well-balanced team approach this season... On only one occasion this season has Arizona finished out of the top five of a tournament... The Wildcats' average finish at the NCAA Championships over the last seven years is third... Arizona also boasts a streak of seven years in which it has placed at least one golfer among the top ten finishers at the NCAA Championships.

Participating Teams: Qualifiers from the East Regional: Duke, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Auburn, Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida State. Central Regional: California, Kent State, Texas, Purdue, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Florida, Tulsa. West Regional: Southern California, Oklahoma State, UCLA, Pepperdine, Arizona State, Ohio State, Washington State, Stanford. Individuals: Brandi Jackson, Furman; Katie Futcher, Penn State; Christine Boucher, Kansas State; Nicole Melton, Texas A&M, Sunny Oh, UNLV; Lindsay Morgan, Washington.

Wildcat Lineup and 2002-03 Statistics:

Golfer	Year	Avg.	Top 10/20	Low Rnd.	Events
Erica Blasberg	Fr.	72.03	8/0	68	9
Laura Myerscough	Sr.	75.34	2/1	71	8
Miriam Kraschinski	So.	76.65	2/1	68	10
Anne Lee	Sr.	76.10	2/2	70	10
Cassandra Kirkland	Fr.	74.66	1/2	68	5

Last Time Out at the NCAA East Regional: Arizona collected its eighth consecutive top-five finish at the NCAA Regional by posting a three-round total of 874 (+22). Arizona's final round tally was its lowest of the regional. The Wildcats finished 17 strokes behind tournament-winner Duke, who posted a three-round 857 (+5). No team in the field of 21 finished below par. Georgia (865), Vanderbilt (865) and Auburn (867) rounded out the top-four places. Individually, two Wildcats finished in the top 20, led by Erica Blasberg. The freshman from Corona, Calif., finished in a tie for eighth place overall. Blasberg, the nation's top-rated individual according to the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, completed the event with a 1-over-par 214 and collected her eighth top-10 finish in nine events this season. Freshman Cassandra Kirkland earned her third top-20 finish of 2002-03 by finishing in a tie for 18th place. Kirkland posted a two-over 73 to finish with a three-round tally of 219 (+6). Since joining the regular lineup in February, Kirkland has finished as one of Arizona's top two finishers in three of five events. Furman's Brandi Jackson captured individual medalist honors. Senior Laura Myerscough took 26th at 221 (+8). Miriam Kraschinski was 44th at 226 (+13), while senior Anne Lee tied for 64th at 229 (+16).

Last Year at the NCAA Championships: Leading the NCAA Championships wire-to-wire proved to be too daunting for the Arizona women's golf team. The Wildcats fell into a tie for second place at the conclusion of the 72-hole tournament after leading after each of the first three rounds. Arizona carded a team total of 18-over-par 1170 to finish behind national champion Duke by six strokes. Auburn and Texas shared second place with the Wildcats. Arizona held the lead as late as the 15th hole in the final round, but was unable to hold off hard-charging Duke. Lorena Ochoa capped her season and career by placing second at 4-under-par 284. Ochoa completed the tournament with a final-round 73, just her second career round in the NCAA Championships over par. The 5-foot-7-inch star from Guadalajara, Mexico, found herself near the hole in regulation throughout the day, but was unable to sink putts. Laura Myerscough continued her outstanding play as she capped her third year competing as a Wildcat with her finest performance. The native of Charleston, Ill., took seventh place and finished at 2-under-par 286. Myerscough improved 19 strokes from her 53rd place showing in 2001. The remaining members of Arizona's lineup; Cristina Baena, Mar Garcia and Miriam Kraschinski; each carded final-round 76s. Garcia completed the tournament tied for 70th place at 14-over-par 302. Baena shared 75th, while Kraschinski tied for 88th place.

Welcome Back!: Arizona makes an anticipated return to the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex and Kampen Golf Course. In September, the Wildcats began the 2002-03 campaign with a win against the top 18 finishers at the 2002 NCAA Championships. The Wildcats posted a three-day score of 25-over-par 889, three shots better than second-place Oklahoma State. In addition to the team title, Miriam Kraschinski became the 16th golfer in UA history to win medalist honors as she took first place at 1-under-par 215. Four Wildcats finished among the top 26 at the Fall Preview.

Honored: Freshman Erica Blasberg was named the inaugural Pac-10 Conference Golfer of the Year on the heels of a season that has seen her finish in the top-10 in her last eight tournaments. 2003 marks the first year that the conference awarded Golfer of the Year honors. Previously, the Pac-10 only named a freshman of the year--which Blasberg also won this year. After a tie for 21st place in her collegiate debut, Blasberg has finished in first, second or third places on six occasions. She owns a stroke average of 72.03.

Seven Up: Through ten events this season, seven different Arizona golfers have registered top-20 finishes, making head coach Greg Allen's task of setting the Arizona lineup that much more difficult. This season, five different Wildcats have earned at least one top-10 finish, while two others have registered top-20 finishes.

Smart Move: Head coach Greg Allen's decision not to use a redshirt year for Cassandra Kirkland has proven to be a good one. After competing as an individual in her first collegiate event (the Wildcat Invitational) and finishing tied for 19th, Kirkland was inserted into the lineup for the Dr. Thompson Rainbow Invitational. She posted the low round of the tournament (70) and led after 18 and 36 holes before finishing in second place at 3-over-par 219. Kirkland was one of four Arizona golfers to register a top-25 finish at the Pac-10 tournament. Her second-round 68 at the NCAA East Regional is a career best and makes her the third member of the Arizona squad to have shot a round in the 60s this season. Kirkland ranks second on the team with a 74.66 scoring average.

The Tough Get Going...: ...when the going gets tough. Some of Arizona's best performances this season have come when they square off against the toughest competition in the nation. In addition to winning the Fall Preview against last year's top 18 teams, the Wildcats have posted their three best scores of the 2002-03 season against the three toughest fields they faced this year. Against nine NCAA Championship participants, Arizona shot its season-best mark of 882 (+18) at the Auburn Tiger-Derby Invitational to finish third. Arizona shot 886 (+22), its second-best score of the season, against six NCAA Championship participants at the PING/ASU Invitational. And finally at the NCAA East Regional, Arizona again shot 22-over par with an 874 at the par-71 Salem Glen Country Club.

Grand Opening: Arizona kicked off its 2002-03 season in style, taking the title at the Fall Preview. The Wildcats received consistent performances from each member of the lineup--helping the team to card three sub-300 rounds. The team only accomplished that feat twice in the 2001-02 season, at the PING/ASU Invitational and in its second-place showing at the NCAA Championships.

Kool Kraschinski: Sophomore Miriam Kraschinski won her first career individual title at the Fall Preview in September, the tournament saw her set a number of career bests. In addition to her career best first place finish, the sophomore from Whitianga, New Zealand shot her best single-round score (70 in the second and third rounds of the Preview) and her best three-round tournament score (215). Her subpar performances in the final two rounds of the Preview marked the first time in her career that she has broken par.

Hoosier State: The 2003 NCAA Championships will mark only the second time in school history that Arizona has participated in an event in the state of Indiana. The only previous appearance was the 2002 Fall Preview in which Arizona won team and individual titles.

LPGA Action: Freshman Erica Blasberg missed the Dr. Thompson Rainbow Invitational due to her participation in the LPGA's Welch's/Fry's Championship in Tucson. Blasberg's appearance marks the third consecutive year a current Wildcat has entered the field after Lorena Ochoa competed as an amateur in 2001 and 2002. Blasberg made the cut and tied for 49th place at 275 (-5).

Out of It: Arizona's ninth-place finish at the Wildcat Invitational was the first time in nine tournaments that the team has finished an event out of the top five. In March 2002, the Wildcats took ninth place at the weather-marred Betsy Rawls Invitational, marking the last time Arizona finished out of the top five.

Foreign Flavor: The Arizona women's golf team has boasted a number of foreign stars in recent years and the 2003 squad is no exception. Four Wildcats call countries other than the United States home. Mar Garcia is a native of Spain, Julia and Miriam Kraschinski hail from New Zealand, and Cassandra Kirkland is from France.

Wild Weather: The high scores from Arizona's spring-opening tournament reflect the poor conditions in Palos Verdes, Calif., at Palos Verdes Golf Club. Heavy rain, strongs winds and harsh temperatures hampered play throughout the tournament and eventually caused the cancellation of the tournament's final round.

Fab Freshmen: Following the tradition of freshmen success in the UA women's golf program, Erica Blasberg has emerged as the Wildcats' most consistent performer and is rated No. 1 nationally. She joins other freshmen phenoms such as Annika Sorenstam, Marisa Baena, Natalie Gulbis and Lorena Ochoa as individuals who have won tournaments in their first season in the program.

Career Best: Senior Anne Lee notched a career best low round when she shot 2-under-par 70 in the second round of the Auburn Tiger-Derby Invitational. Her 54-hole score (220, +5) at the Auburn tournament was only two shots off of her 54-hole career best, set at the 2001 Wildcat Invitational. By placing 10th at the Auburn Tiger-Derby Invitational, Lee posted her second top-10 of the season and third of her career.

Tough Room: Freshman Erica Blasberg is around top-notch student-athletes while on the golf course and in McKale Center. But even at home in her dorm, Blasberg is still accompanied by another elite student-athlete. Blasberg shares her dorm room with Kim Glass of the UA volleyball team. Glass was named national freshman of the year and a second-team All-American for her efforts this season.

Myerscough in Malaysia: Senior Laura Myerscough missed action at the Stanford-Pepsi Intercollegiate beacuse of her participation in the World Amateur Golf Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Myerscough tied for 21st place individually and helped the United States' three woman squad to fifth place in the 39-team tournament. The Stanford-Pepsi Intercollegiate marked the first Arizona tournament Myerscough missed since the Golf World Invitational in November of 2000.

Doing the Solo Thing: With individual victories by Erica Blasberg and Miriam Kraschinski so far this season, 17 Arizona women have won medalist honors in the history of the program. Dating to 1977, those 17 golfers have combined for 59 tournament championships. The 2002-03 season is the 10th time in the last 15 years that at least two Wildcats have each won an individual tournament title.

On From the AJGA: Freshmen Erica Blasberg and Whitney Welch entered the University of Arizona with impressive junior golf resumes. Both have been named to the American Junior Golf Association's All-America teams on multiple occasions. Welch was named to the AJGA's All-America first-team in 2001 and won honorable mention honors in 2000. Blasberg was honored as an All-American by the AJGA three consecutive years; winning first-team honors in 2000 and second-team honors in 2001 and 1999.

Arizona Championship Streak: Arizona extended its streak of years in which it has won a team title to eight after it captured the title at the NCAA Fall Preview in September. The last Arizona team to go winless was the 1994-95 squad, which had five top-five finishes. During the eight-season streak, Arizona has produced two national championship teams, five Pac-10 titles, four NCAA West Regional titles and 35 total tournament championships. Included in that stretch was the 1999-2000 team that won eight consecutive events.

Wildcat Coaching Staff: A five-year college coaching veteran, Greg Allen has led the Arizona Wildcats to eight tournament championships in just two-and-a-half years at the helm of the program. Included in the team's accomplishments under Allen's watch are the 2001 and 2002 Pac-10 Conference Championships, a national runner-up finish and a 20-stroke victory at the 2001 NCAA West Regional. In the summer of 2001, he paired with Arizona men's head coach Rick LaRose to coach t he United States team to victory in 2001 U.S.-Japan Collegiate Matches. Allen, hired in July 2000, came to the University of Arizona from Texas where he was the assistant coach for the Longhorns' men's golf team. Allen helped guide Texas to the 1999-2000 NCAA Central Region championship and a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Prior to coaching at Texas, Allen served as Director of Tournament Operations with the American Junior Golf Association. Allen graduated from Murray State University in 1993. He is assisted by Jody Niemann-Dansie, who was hired in July 2002. Niemann-Dansie played two years on the LPGA after completing her collegiate eligibility. She is a graduate of Arizona State University and was a member of the 1997 and 1998 NCAA National Championship teams in Tempe.

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