Feb. 19, 2009
Teeing Off: Arizona swings into the Spring portion of the schedule this coming weekend, teeing off at the 2009 Wildcat Invitational in Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico. The event will be played on the Nicklaus Legacy Course at the Peninsula Golf Club, a part of the Mayan Palace Resort.
About the Course: This week’s special international event will be played on a par-72, 6,146-yard layout designed by Jack Nicklaus and his son, Jack II. The course consists of six ocean view holes and consists of 100 bunkers and one lake. The grass on the greens is Sea Isle 2000.
Invitation Only: As they have almost every time out this season, the Wildcats will once again compete against a star-studded field loaded with teams ranked among the top 25 in all of women’s collegiate golf. The field for the 2009 Wildcat Invitational includes: #1 UCLA, #2 Arizona State, #3 USC, #4 Oklahoma State, #7 Duke, #10 Pepperdine, #16 Denver, #17 California and the host Wildcats, who were ranked #22 this week. The field will also include New Mexico, New Mexico State, Tennessee, Chattanooga, Tulsa, Tulane, UNLV and Washington.
Full House: For the first time this season, all 10 players on the Arizona roster will participate in an event. With Stanford withdrawing from the tournament at the 11th hour, there was room for five more individuals in the field and head coach Shelly Haywood has chosen to reward the hard work of her squad by bringing them down to this special event.
Turn Back the Clock: Last season, the Wildcats fired a three-round total of 899 to finish in the 4th place at the Wildcat Invitiational, staged locally at the Arizona National. Alison Walshe led the way for Arizona with a 7-over total of 220. Oklahoma State captured the team title with a score of 884 while Amanda Blumen-hurst of Duke won the individual crown by shooting even-par 213.
Cats in the Polls: The Wildcats began the Spring portion of the season ranked #24 in the most recent edition of the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, released last Sunday, February 15. Alejandra Llaneza is the team’s highest-rated golfer with a ranking of #93 with a rating of 73.57. Arizona also was placed #22 in the final NGCA Coaches Poll released in November.
Let’s Hear From Haywood: “We are very excited to get the Spring underway and to host this event at such a great venue. We’re looking forward to really growing the game down in Mexico and giving something back to those less fortunate.”
Home Cooking: Sophomore Alejandra Llaneza and freshman Margarita Ramos return to their home country this weekend with the Wildcats heading a few hours south of the border to host the Wildcat Invitational. Both players have been very active in the Mexican Girls Junior program and will be featured in an upcoming article of the Los Angeles Times regarding the growth of golf among Mexican female golfers.
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 take place March 20-22, forcing the pair to miss out on the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational in Austin, Texas that same week.
French Flair: Isabelle Boineau was another highly-touted freshman to join the Wildcats in the Fall and she did not disappoint the Arizona coaching staff. She finished the Fall with a 75.10 scoring average and posted a pair of Top 10 finishes. Boineau carded a season-best 2-under 70 round to open the Stanford Women’s Intercollegiate in October and also finished in a tie for 9th place at +8 at Windy City Invitational.
Senior Standout: Senior Amanda Wilson has done just what her coaches have asked of her thus far in 2008, providing the Wildcats with a steady, consistent presence on the golf course as she helps set the tone for the rest of her younger teammates. She has tallied all 11 of her rounds between 71 and 77, providing a steady score for the Wildcats against the top competition. She has also shot between +6 and +9 overall in her four tournaments, earning a share of 9th place at the Windy City Invitational after finishing the 54-hole event at 8-over par 224.
Youth Movement: Arizona knows that it has a roster set to succeed both in the present, but especially in the future. With the strong, early play of freshmen Margarita Ramos and Isabelle Boineau combining with sophomore Alejandra Llaneza, the Wildcats boast a talented trio that should be around for several years to come. All three players bring a wealth of international junior experience and have played against talented fields throughout their young careers.
Statistical Standouts: The lastest Golfstat.com statistical report shows that the Wildcats are ranked 9th nationally in Par 3 scoring with a 3.12 team average, just .06 strokes behind NCAA leaders Colorado State. The Wildcats are also 10th in Putts on Greens in Regulation, tallying a 1.892 average. USC is the national leader at 1.841.
Next Up: The Wildcats will take a week to fine tune before heading back to the Sunshine State and take part in the University of Central Florida Challenge, staged March 8-10 at the Red Tail Golf Club in Sorrento, Fla.