Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Women's Golf Season in Review
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: May 31, 2005
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Teeing Off:  The Arizona women’s golf team concluded their season with a 13th place finish at the NCAA West Regional in Las Cruces, N.M.


Season in Review: The disappointment of not advancing to the NCAA Championship for the first time in 10 seasons didn’t outweigh the positives of the 2004-05 Arizona women’s golf season. “Looking back at the year, I'm obviously disappointed about not making it out of the regional, but when I look at the five that started every event, they all improved their stroke average from the previous year,” Head Coach Greg Allen said.  

The team finished the season with eight Top-10 finishes, including six in the top 5. Their best tournament of the season was on their home course, Arizona National, at the Wildcat Invitational. UA was one shot out of first place, finishing the two-day tournament at 856 (+13).

Individually all the Wildcat golfers improved over the season. Junior Cassandra Kirkland led the team in stroke average (73.83). She finished the season with four Top 10 finishes and nine rounds of under-par-or-even-to. The native of Saint-Nom-La-Breteche, France, shot a career-low 54-hole score of 207 at the Stanford-Pepsi Invitational in October.

Kirkland shot a career-low round of 67 twice this season. The first came at the Stanford-Pepsi Invitational, where she finished the tournament tied for second (226). Her last round of 67 was during the second round of the Pac-10 Championships. She finished the tournament tied for third with a three-day total of 211 (-5).

“Cassandra has improved every year and added her name to an impressive list of UA golfers that has individually won a tournament. We will set lofty goals for her senior year that will include Pac-10 Player of the Year and NCAA first-team All-America,” Allen said. “I look for Cassandra to come in here in the fall very motivated to lead this team and help us contend for both a Pac-10 and national championship.”

Junior Lani Elston also collected her collegiate-low three day total at the Wildcat Invitational (68-73-71?-212), where she tied for third place. Making improvements on her stroke average from the year before, Elston tallied a 75.25 stroke average in 11 events this season.

“Lani will be a fifth-year senior in the fall, so we will look to Lani for senior leadership and a mature attitude to help lead so many incoming freshmen,” Allen said.

Junior Whitney Welch showcased her talents during the Wildcat Invitational, where she finished tied for fifth at 215 (+2). The tournament also provided her collegiate low-round of 71. In 30 rounds of golf, the Las Vegas native posted a 76.70 stroke average, fourth best on the team.

“The highlight of the season for me would be watching Whitney Welch play the way she did at the Wildcat Invitational. After playing poorly at our home tournament her freshman and sophomore seasons, Whitney put together her best collegiate tournament this year on our home golf course,” Allen said.

The 2004-05 season also closed the Wildcat careers of seniors Mar Garcia and Miriam Kraschinski. Garcia came on strong in the spring season. The Spain native finished tied for sixth at the Pac-10 Championships, where she posted her UA career best score of 217 (+1). Kraschinski collected a 76.60 stroke average in 30 rounds of golf.

The individual accomplishments of the Arizona women’s golf team shone during the 2004-05 season. Next season, Arizona will welcome a strong freshman class which includes Sommer Scholl, Lauren Espinosa and Amanda Wilson, all whom will be asked the make an immediate impact for the team.  

“We will have more freshmen than upperclassmen, so we could be in for a lot of fun times. They will need to be fast learners because in a year, they will be the leaders of the team,” Allen said.

During the summer months, the women’s golf team will go their separate ways, working individually on their games and competing individually at national events. “Our incoming freshman need to come in here in August and be prepared to play and contribute right away, while our three seniors need to come back ready to set good examples and work ethics at practice,” Allen said. “We will have some very talented golfers. If their confidence levels are high and the team chemistry is good, then we will have a chance to win golf tournaments.”


Final Wildcat Statistics:

Golfer                          Year     Stroke Avg.      Top 10/20         Low Rnd.         Events

Lani Elston                    Jr.         75.25                1/2                    68                     11

Miriam Kraschinski        Sr.        76.60                0/0                    70                     11

Mar Garcia                    Sr.        76.63                1/1                    70                     11

Whitney Welch              Jr.         76.70                1/0                    71                     11        

Cassandra Kirkland        Jr.         73.83                4/2                    67                     11

Rachel Gavin                 So.       80.75                0/0                    75                     4

Katie Christy                 Sr.        81.66                0/0                    75                     1



Rankings: Arizona finished the season ranked No. 20 in the team Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index. Individually, junior Cassandra Kirkland finished ranked No. 26 in the individual Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index. Junior Lani Elston finished No. 58, senior Miriam Kraschinksi ended her Wildcat career No. 183, senior Mar Garcia finished No. 184 and junior Whitney Welch ended at No. 192.


NGCA Honors: After her successful junior campaign, Cassandra Kirkland was selected to the  National Golf Coaches Association’s honorable mention All-America squad. 


Academic Success: Junior Lani Elston was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII Women’s At-Large Team. The native of Spokane, Wash., carries a grade point average of 3.922 as a music major.


Wildcat Coaching Staff:  A seven-year college coaching veteran, Greg Allen has led the Arizona Wildcats to nine tournament championships in just five years at the helm of the program. Included in the team’s accomplishments under Allen 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. Allen, hired in July 2000, came to Arizona from the University of Texas, where he was the assistant coach for the Longhorn men’s golf team. Prior to coaching at Texas, Allen served as Director of Tournament Operations with the American Junior Golf Association. Allen graduated from Murray State in 1993.

Shelly Haywood, hired in September 2004, assists Allen. Haywood played collegiately at New Mexico State, where she was a two-time All-Big West Conference performer. For the past 11 years, prior to taking the position at Arizona Haywood was the assistant golf professional at Tucson Country Club.