Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Women's Golf Heads to Palo Alto for Stanford/Pepsi Invitational
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: June 22, 2004
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This Week: The Wildcats travel to northern California this weekend to participate in the 2000 Stanford/Pepsi Women's Intercollegiate. The 18-team tournament will take place on the par-72, 6154-yard Stanford Golf Course. Action begins Thursday with a practice round and competition starts Friday. Tee-off is at 8:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, and an 8:30 a.m. start on Sunday. The Cats have not competed since Sept. 23 when they took the team and individual titles at the Comcast/Dick McGuire Invitational. Freshman Natalie Gulbis makes her collegiate debut this weekend.

The Field: The Stanford/Pepsi Invitational will feature 10 teams ranked in the nation's top 25 and all 10 Pac-10 conference teams. Notables include No. 3 Southern California, No. 5 Stanford, and No. 10 Pepperdine.

Last Year at the Stanford/Pepsi Invitational: The Cats finished in fifth place, shooting a team total of 890, eleven strokes behind tournament champ Tulsa. The highest individual golfer was Jenna Daniels, who tied for eighth place with a two-over-par performance at 218, including a three-under-par 69 in the final round. Current Wildcats junior Cristina Baena, sophomore Julia Kraschinski, and senior Christina Monteiro shot 223 (+7), 231 (+15), 235 (+19), respectively.


Last Time Out: Led by a dominating performance from freshman Lorena Ochoa in just her second collegiate tournament, the Arizona Wildcats earned their first tournament championship of the year at the Comcast/Dick McGuire Invitational. The team shot a combined 892 (+16), five strokes ahead of second-place Tulsa. Arizona jumped out to an early lead with a first round total of 291 (-1). The Wildcats then shot rounds of 299 and 302 to finish the tournament at sixteen-over-par. Individually, Lorena Ochoa led the way. She shot a three-round total of 212, seven strokes under par to claim the first championship of her young collegiate career. Ochoa set or tied a number of records at the University of New Mexico Championship Course, including tying the 54-hole individual record held by former Wildcat Marisa Baena. Not to be overshadowed by Ochoa's dominant performance, junior Cristina Baenaturned in an outstanding weekend of play. She finished in second place at even-par, seven strokes behind teammate Ochoa. Sophomore Laura Myerscough carded a five-over par 224 to come in tied for sixth place. Senior Christina Monteiro tied for 56th place at 238, while freshman Nancy Abiecunas tied for 62nd place at 239. Senior Christelle Cuzon competed as an individual for the Wildcats and completed action tied for 27th with an 18-over-par 230, including a second-round score of 74.

The Lineup:
Golfer			Yr.	Notes
Lorena Ochoa		Fr.	72.20 avg., medalist at Dick McGuire 
Invitational, CGF Golfer of the Month for Sept.
Cristina Baena		Jr.	73.20 avg., No. 1 ranked golfer in the 
country, finished second at Dick McGuire Invitational
Laura Myerscough	So.	75.20 avg., shot season low 
round of 71 in round one at Dick McGuire Invitational
Christina Monteiro	Sr.	77.60 avg., tied for 15th at NCAA 
Fall Preview, lone competing senior on squad
Natalie Gulbis		Fr.	making collegiate debut, youngest 
player to ever qualify for an LPGA event at age 14
Anne Lee*		So.	playing in first tournament of year, 
competed in three tournaments in 99-00 with a 77.11 
* competing as an individual

Ochoa's Accolades: The personal honors have begun to pour in for Arizona freshman sensation Lorena Ochoa. After a ninth-place finish in her first career collegiate competition, Ochoa ran away with the individual crown at the Comcast/Dick McGuire Invitational. She led the tournament wire-to-wire, shooting a four-under 69 on day one and wrapping up action at seven-under-par 212. Her performance earned her a pair of awards. Golf World magazine named Ochoa its Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 29. Ochoa was later honored by the Collegiate Golf Foundation as the Rolex College Golfer of the Month for September. Additionally, Ochoa made her debut in the latest edition of the MasterCard Collegiate Golf Rankings at No. 3.

Injury Update: Sophomore Julia Kraschinski has been out of action due to an injured back. She will miss this week's Stanford/Pepsi Invitational and is doubtful for the Golf World Invitational on Nov. 3. She may potentially miss the entire fall season.

Cats In the Polls: Arizona maintained its perch atop the MasterCard Collegiate Golf Rankings in the latest edition of the poll. The Wildcats, who had been tabbed as the Collegiate Golf Foundation's preseason No. 1, received 316 votes, 20 more than No. 2 Duke. Arizona's Cristina Baena moved into the nation's top spot from her preseason ranking of No. 2. Freshman Lorena Ochoa debuts in the poll at No. 3 after her performance at the Dick McGuire Invitational. Also ranked for the Wildcats is sophomore Julia Kraschinski, who checks in at No. 18. Kraschinski has been out of action due to an injured back, but was an integral part of last season's national championship performance.

2000 National Champions: The Wildcats topped off a dominant season in which they won nine tournaments by a combined total of 73 shots by capturing the 2000 National 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.

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 loses 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, 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.