Oct. 15, 2008
Teeing Off: Arizona plays its second weekend tournament of the season starting on Friday at the Stanford/Pepsi Intercollegiate. The event will be played out on the Stanford Golf Course, a par-71, 6,154-yard course that was designed in 1930 by William Bell and George C. Thomas, Jr.
Nothing New: Though the Wildcats are one of the youngest teams in the NCAA this season, they do send three players with experience on the Stanford course to this week’s event. Amanda Wilson, Brittany Benvenuto and Alejandra Llaneza have all had their turn taking in the 18 holes in previous seasons.
Participating Teams: Arizona, Stanford, Arkansas, California, Duke, New Mexico, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Oregon State, Pepperdine, Texas, USC, UCLA, UNLV, Vanderbilt and Washington.
Last Time Out: In eerily familiar fashion, the Wildcats shot an opening-round team score of 297, only to follow that up by struggling through the second round at 306 and ending up in 4th place overall. Arizona held a three-shot advantage over Michigan after the first round, but did not have one player shoot lower than 76 in the second round. The Wildcats rebounded on Monday and put together a total of 301, but the goal of winning their first tournament of the season was out of reach.
Let’s Hear From Haywood: “I hate to say it, but I was disappointed with the way things turned out last week. We went into the tournament with the goal of winning and we didn’t get it done. We continue to have trouble with our focus in the second round and we talked a lot about that in practice last week. College golf is just too competitive to spot teams 15 shots. We hit a lot of fairways on a tight golf course and were on greens that were tougher than the week before, but our putting let us down and we didn’t score well on the par fives. That being said, I think we’re ready to go this week. Our goal is to play a little better each round - at least one shot. Stanford is a course similar to the ones we play here, so I think we should do well this week. I really do feel like we’re just one tournament away from breaking through. This is not an overly tough course, so our freshmen shouldn’t have too much trouble and it’s nice having players who have played here before.”
Cats in the Polls: The Wildcats dropped to 31st in the most recent edition of the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, released Monday, October 13. Alejandra Llaneza is the team’s highest-rated golfer with a ranking of #106.
Stanford Standing: Two of the five players set to tee-off for the Wildcats this weekend took part in this same event last season. Alejandra Llaneza shared 16th place after carding rounds of 72, 75 and 73 to finish at +7 (220) while Brittany Benvenuto concluded the three rounds with a tally of 249 (+36).The Wildcats took 7th place overall as a team as they sandwiched a pair of sub-300 rounds around a 306 tally to finish at 897 (+45).
Deja Vu Again?: This season, the Wildcats have opened each tournament with strong team tallies, but failed to follow that up with second rounds to match. This same trend happened to the team last season at the Stanford Intercollegiate, one head coach Shelly Haywood hopes does not repeat itself this weekend. The Wildcats shot 296 to open the event last season, but then carded a team total of 306 the following day. Despite shooting a weekend-low score of 295 on Sunday, the damage was too hefty to push the team into the top five.
World Traveler: Sophomore Alejandra Llaneza did not compete at the Windy City Collegiate Championships because she was representing her home country of Mexico in the World Amateur Team Championships in Australia. Llaneza was the low scorer for her country this past summer in qualifying for the event and repeated that feat as she shot +12 (302) to finish in a tie for 40th on the individual leaderboard. Her score helped Mexico to a team finish of shared 30th at +31 in an event won by Sweden at 19-under par.
French Flair: Much was made of the freshman debut of Isabelle Boineau last week at the Windy City Collegiate Championships and she did not disappoint head coach Shelly Haywood or her teammates. Boineau carded a pair of +1 rounds of 74 around a second round tally of 76 to share 9th place overall with teammate Amanda Wilson at 225. “Isabelle has more international experience than anyone on the team and it shows in her play,” said Haywood. “She is consistent and focused when she plays and that is great for our team.”
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 posted scores of 225 and 224 through her first two events. Though she would like to have trimmed a few shots off some of those rounds, her consistent play will continue for the younger players to know their team leader will provide the steady scoring needed to contned for tournament titles.
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. “We know with Alejandra back in the lineup that she will bring even more consistency to our team,” said Haywood. She learned a lot playing in the international event and we expect her to bring those lessons back to her play this weekend.”
Statistical Findings: The Golfstat.com statistical board has one Arizona player ranked among its top 10 while the team finds itself scoring among the best in the nation. In just her first collegiate tournament, Isabelle Boineau posted an impressive 2.90 scoring average for her par 3 scoring average, putting her 7th in the NCAA as of October 10th. The Wildcats continue to be one of the most accurate teams off of the tee, ranking third in the nation in fairways hit with a .836 percentage.