This Week: The defending national champion Arizona Wildcat women's golf team continues its fall schedule at the Dick McGuire Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M. Play begins Thursday, Sept. 21, and continues until Saturday, Sept. 23. Arizona is seeking its first tournament victory of the young season. Last weekend, the Cats finished second in a strong field at the NCAA Preview in Florida. Tee-off at the Dick McGuire Invitational is at 8:30 a.m. MDT all three days.
Last Time Out: The Wildcats came away with a second place finish at the NCAA Fall Preview in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. after battling extremely hot and humid conditions on day one and facing heavy rains on day two. The third round of the tournament was cancelled due to the threat of Hurricane Gordon. Arizona's 14-over par 598 left them three shots behind tournament champion Duke. The Wildcats were led individually by junior Cristina Baena who placed third with a one-over par 147, just one stroke behind co-champions Marta Prieto and Maria Beautell both of Wake Forest. Two Arizona freshmen made their collegiate debuts at the NCAA Preview. Lorena Ochoa finished tied for ninth at 149 (+3). Nancy Abiecunas shot a 13-over, 159 to finish tied at 63rd. Christina Monteiro, Arizona's lone competing senior, finished tied for 15th at 150 (+4). Finally, Laura Myerscough in her first collegiate competition since Feb. '99, shot a six-over 152 to claim a tie for 22nd. A Wildcat shot the low score each day, with Cristina Baena's 71 on day one and Christina Monteiro's 70 on day two.
The UNM Championship Golf Course: The Dick McGuire Invitational will be held at the University of New Mexico's Championship Golf Course. The par-73, 6,069 yard course is home to the Lobos men's and women's teams. Annual events include the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate and the Dick McGuire Invitational. The Championship Course is no stranger to major tournaments. It was the site of the 1950, '76, '92 and '98 NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championships. In 1987, the women's NCAA tourney was held at the Championship Course.
The Lineup: Golfer Yr. Notes Lorena Ochoa Fr. Semifinalist at the U.S. Women's Amateur in 99 Cristina Baena Jr. 73.44 avg. in 99-00, 3rd at 2000 Pac-10 Champs. Laura Myerscough Jr. runner-up at 2000 U.S. Women's Amateur Christina Monteiro Sr. 75.67 avg. in 99-00, tied 6th at NCAA West Reg. Nancy Abiecunas Fr. 1st team HS All-American in 1999 Christelle Cuzon* Sr. competed in two tournaments in 98-99Last Year at the Dick McGuire Invitational: Arizona earned its first tournament win of the season in Albuquerque last September with a convincing 16-stroke victory over a field that included host New Mexico, Southern California, New Mexico State, and Texas. Jenna Daniels led the way with a three-under par 216 to finish in second place. Cristina Baena shot even par to claim seventh place. Julia Kraschinski and Christina Monteiro shot six-over and nine-over to earn ties for 18th and 29th, respectively.
* competing as an individual, score will not count toward UA score
The Field: The 18 team field for this weekend's tournament includes six schools ranked in the nation's top 25. Additionally, the Wildcats will face three fellow Pac-10 schools in the tournament.
No.1 Arizona No. 6 Tulsa No. 14 Pepperdine No. 17 Oklahoma State No. 18 UCLA No. 23 New Mexico Baylor Brigham Young Colorado State Hawaii Nevada-Reno Oklahoma Oregon State Texas A&M Texas Christian Texas-El Paso Texas Tech Washington
Cats Climb the Polls: Arizona is the top-ranked team in the preseason edition of the MasterCard Collegiate Golf Ranking. The Wildcats garnered 330 votes, ahead of conference rival Stanford who claims the No. 2 spot with 317 votes. Other Pac-10 teams in the top 25 include No. 4 Southern California, No.11 Arizona State, No. 18 UCLA, and No. 24 Oregon. Individually, the Cats are also well-represented. Junior Cristina Baena is rated No. 2 in the nation by the MasterCard rankings. Sophomore Julia Kraschinski checks in at No. 7 with 217 votes, just three votes out of sixth-place. The next edition of the MasterCard rankings will be released October 4. Arizona also claims the top spot in the Golfweek preseason poll. Duke comes in at No. 2 in the Golfweek poll, while fellow Pac-10 schools, Stanford and Southern California, are Nos. 3 and 4.
2000 National Champions: The Wildcats capped a dominant season in which they won nine tournaments by a combined total of 73 shots by capturing the 2000 NCAA Championship in May. The title is the school's second in the last five years. Arizona turned in one of the most dominating performances in the 19-year history of the national championship tournament. Second-place Stanford trailed Arizona by 21 strokes, the third-largest margin in NCAA Championship history. Three Wildcat golfers finished in the top 10 at the championships, held at Crosswater Course in Sunriver, Ore. Alumna Jenna Daniels took the individual title with a one-under par 287, sophomore Julia Kraschinski finished in second, and junior Cristina Baena tied for tenth.
Injury Update: Sophomore Julia Kraschinski and freshman Natalie Gulbis are out of action due to injured backs. Both missed the NCAA Preview and will be out for the Dick McGuire Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M. They will be re-evaluated prior to the Stanford/Pepsi Invitational in October.
The Streak: It may not be as prominent as the 71-game home court winning streak once held by Coach Lute Olson and the Arizona men's basketball team, but the streak owned by Arizona's 1999-2000 women's golf team remains quite impressive. Arizona did not finish a competition out of first place from Oct. 25, 1999 when they wrapped up action in the Stanford/Pepsi Invitational in fifth place, 11 shots behind tournament champ Tulsa, until this year's NCAA Preview on Sept. 16 where they finished in second place, just three shots back of champion Duke. The Wildcats reeled off eight consecutive tournament victories by a combined 67 shots, including the Pac-10 Conference Championship tournament, the NCAA West Regional, and their 21-shot victory at the NCAA Championship tournament.
Wildcat Coaching Staff: Coach Greg Allen, who was hired in late July, comes 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. Allen graduated from Murray State University in 1993. Coach Allen is assisted by Amy Solfisburg who is in her eighth year with the Wildcat women's golf program. Solfisburg attended the University of Arizona and is a native of Michigan.
Reloading, not rebuilding: Arizona lost three letterwinners from last year's national championship team, including 1999-2000 seniors Jenna Daniels and Jill Gomric. But more significant is who returns for the Cats. Junior Cristina Baena, sophomore Julia Kraschinski, and senior Christina Monteiro are back, and all three played in each of the Wildcats' 11 tournaments last year. Together, the three averaged 74.66 in 1999-2000. Factor in freshmen Lorena Ochoa, Nancy Abiecunas, and Natalie Gulbis and the return of redshirt sophomore Laura Myerscough and Arizona appears poised for another title run. Ochoa qualified in the No. 1 spot for the Wildcats heading into the year's first tournament, the NCAA Preview. She reached the semifinals of the 1999 U.S. Women's Amateur and the quarterfinals of the 2000 U.S. Women's Amateur. Abiecunas comes to Tucson after a high school career that saw her win five American Junior Golf Association tournament titles and be named First Team All-American in 1999. Gulbis won the U.S. High School Championship in 1999 by 21 shots. Myerscough comes off a summer that saw her advance to the finals of this year's U.S. Women's Amateur. Baena was named to the All-Pac-10 First Team, as well as earning an honorable mention on the All-Academic Pac-10 team. Monteiro and Kraschinski were both selected to All-Pac-10 honorable mention team.