April 2, 2009
Teeing Off: The 2008-09 regular season schedule comes to a close for the University of Arizona women's golf team this coming weekend as the Wildcats make the short trip to Tempe to take part in the PING/ASU Invitational. The Cats will then have just over two weeks before the postseason begins at the Pac-10 Championships.
About the Course: This week's event will be contested at the ASU Karsten Golf Course, a par-72, 6,230-yard course. Play will begin at 8:00 a.m. (MST) on Friday and Saturday before jumping up 30 minutes for a 7:30 a.m. (MST) beginning on Sunday morning.
Invitation Only: Arizona will once again be surrounded by a number of the top teams in women's collegiate golf this weekend. Checking in at #20 in the latest NGCA Coaches Poll rankings, the Wildcats will be up against #2 Arizona State, #18 California, Colorado, #15 Denver, New Mexico, Oregon, #5 Oklahoma State, #13 Pepperdine, #12 Purdue, #22 Stanford, Texas A&M, Tulsa, UCF, #1 UCLA, #3 USC and #16 Vanderbilt.
1. Alejandra Llaneza
2. Margarita Ramos
3. Amanda Wilson
4. Nikki Koller
5. Isabelle Boineau/Brittany Benvenuto*
* One player will take the 5th team slot; the other will play as an individual
Shuffle the Deck: Head coach Shelly Haywood has a decision to make before setting her team lineup for the PING/ASU Invitational this weekend. With the return of veteran Amanda Wilson to the lineup, Haywood will either use junior Brittany Benvenuto or freshman Isabelle Boineau in the starting five. The other player will still compete in the event, but will do so as an individual and not count toward the five-person team score.
Sizing Up The Competition: Arizona will once again be up against a field of teams stacked with teams in the top 25 of the latest NGCA Coaches Poll. Each of the top three teams, all Pac-10 foes, are in the field as well as four of the top five and nine of the top 18.
Tournament History: While the host Sun Devils have won the event 24 times in the 37-year history, USC was the victor last season for the second time. The Trojans' Dewi Schreefel knocked off ASU's Anna Nordqvist in a tie-breaker to take the individual medalist honors. Arizona grabbed 9th place overall last season while Mary Jacobs shot 1-over par to finish in a tie for 8th place. Then-freshman Alejandra Llaneza had the low score for all of th returning Wildcats by carding a 6-over total for the weekend.
Cats in the Polls: The Wildcats enter this week ranked #20 in the most recent edition of the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, released on Sunday, March 8. Alejandra Llaneza is the team's highest-rated golfer with a ranking of #63 with a rating of 73.16.
Last Time Out: The Arizona JV squad was out last weekend to take part in the Mountain View Collegiate event held a the Mountain View Golf Club in Tucson. The event, hosted by the University of Colorado, saw the Wildcats finish in 18th position as a team. Amanda Wilson was the low player for the Cats, finishing at 1-over par for the 54-hole tournament. Wilson carded her low round of the season in the second round, shooting 2-under par 70 after firing a 1-under round earlier on Saturday. Those totals were good enough for a share of 9th place overall, her second Top 10 finish of the season.
Turn The Corner: The Wildcats are hoping to turn the corner as they prepare for postseason play with this final tune-up event. The Cats are averaging four more strokes per round as a team than they did during the Fall campaign. While averaging 297.36 in four Fall events, the Wildcats have seen that total creep up over 300 to 301.55 after three events. In order to lower their Spring average below the Fall ledger, Arizona would need to shoot 854 for the weekend, besting their lowest three-round total of the season by 12 shots.
Welcome Back: Haywood will be glad to welcome back her low-scoring Mexican duo of sophomore Alejandra Llaneza and freshman Margarita Ramos after the pair were invited to participate in the LPGA MasterCard Classic in Huixquilcan, Mexico, March 20-22 at the BosqueReal Country Club. Though neither player made the cut, they each finished at +11 for the tournament and were just six shots off of the cutline.
Second Half Standout: After learning the ropes of collegiate golf during her first semester of play, freshman Nikki Koller has come back in the Spring as an improved player and her scores through two events have backed that up. After averaging 78.56 in three Fall tournaments, Koller has battled back to lower her overall scoring almost two full shots to 76.67. Take out her opening-round 79 at the Wildcat Invitational and her Spring average would be 72.80, sparked by a career-low 69 in round two of the Wildcat Invitational.
Statistical Standouts: The lastest Golfstat.com statistical report shows that Margarita Ramos is 19th in total short game with a rating of .583, Alejandra Llaneza is 22nd in par 4 scoring at 4.09 while Amanda Wilson is 23rd in putts on greens in regulation at 1.852 after her fine play last weekend. As a team, the Wildcats are 6th in putts on greens in regulation at 1.894 and 7th in total short game with a rating of .502.
Next Up: The postseason gets underway for the Wildcats in just under three weeks time with the Pac-10 Championships being staged April 21-23 at the Stanford Golf Course in Palo Alto, Calif.