Women's Golf Hosts Wildcat Invitational; Lorena Ochoa Goes For Sixth Consecutive Victory

Feb. 22, 2002

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Now On The Tee: Arizona's women's golf team will play host to the nation'sbest, an annual February ritual in Tucson, at the Wildcat Invitational onMonday and Tuesday, Feb. 25 and 26. Eighteen teams will tee off Monday at7:30 a.m. and play 36 holes and again at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday for the finalround, with shotgun starts both days.

Some Tournament Themes: Arizona will learn if some home-cooking and a homecourse advantage are enough to put the Wildcats over the top and win theirfirst team title of the year... Sophomore Lorena Ochoa will attempt toextend her dominant streak of wins to six in a row... A victory for Ochoawould make her the most accomplished women's golfer in UA history, breakingMarisa Baena's mark of nine individual championships... Senior CristinaBaena makes her season debut after missing the entire fall season afterwrist surgery... Freshman Mar Garcia will step out of older brotherSergio's shadow and attempt to make some waves of her own as she makes hercollegiate debut... Ochoa and Candy Hannemann of Duke will square off forthe third time in their careers... Their previous matchups have bothresulted in sudden-death playoffs to determine medalist honors, with Ochoabesting Hannemann for the 2001 Wildcat Invitational title and Hannemanndefeating Ochoa for the 2001 National Championship.

Course: The Raven at Sabino Springs will serve as the tournament course.Widely recognized as one of Arizona's most scenic golf courses, the Raven willplay to a par of 72 and a length of 6,119 yards this week.

The Field: The top five teams and seven of the top-10 teams in the country,according to the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, will compete in theWildcat Invitational. The top 13 teams in last year's Wildcat Invitationalwill return to Tucson for the event. Additionally, 10 of the top 11 teamsfrom last year's NCAA Championships will participate. Sophomore LorenaOchoa, the nation's top-rated golfer, and the Auburn Tigers, the nation'stop-rated team, will put their rankings on the line at the WildcatInvitational.

Teams Scheduled to Compete: host Arizona, Arizona State, Auburn, Duke, NewMexico, New Mexico State, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Pepperdine, SanJose State, SMU, Southern California, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, Tulsa,UCLA and Washington.

A Look at the Rankings: Arizona sits 11th in the Golfweek/SagarinPerformance Index. Sophomore Lorena Ochoa, winner of five consecutivetournaments, stands atop the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index individualratings.

Wildcat Lineup:

Golfer Year Avg. Top 10/20 Low Rnd. Events

Lorena Ochoa So. 69.93 5/0 66 5

Laura Myerscough Jr. 75.71 1/1 72 5

Julia Kraschinski Jr. 80.50 0/0 72 3

Cristina Baena Sr. first event of season

Mar Garcia Fr. first event of career

Miriam Kraschinski* Fr. 78.45 0/0 75 4

Anne Lee* Jr. 77.42 0/1 71 4

Cathie Williamson* Sr. 80.66 0/0 77 3

* will compete as individuals

Last Year at the Wildcat Invitational: The second-ranked Arizona women'sgolf team claimed the championship at its lone home tournament, the WildcatInvitational held at The Raven Golf Club at Sabino Springs., by shooting ateam total of 875. Arizona out-dueled No. 1 Duke and No. 5 Stanford toearn the title. Head coach Greg Allen's squad held a four-stroke leadentering the final round, but still needed a strong performance down thestretch to claim the title. With only nine holes remaining, the Wildcatswere three shots back of the top-ranked Blue Devils. However, Arizona shotfour-under-par as a team on the final nine holes to surge ahead of Duke asthe Lady Blue Devils combined to shoot 12-over-par on the back nine.Leading the late charge for Arizona was stellar freshman Lorena Ochoa, whoearned medalist honors for the third time in her career. Ochoa completedthe tournament with a total of 213 (-3), winning the individual title in asudden-death playoff with a birdie on the first extra hole. Also playing alarge part in the Wildcats' success was Arizona's other standout freshmanNatalie Gulbis. Named Golf World Collegiate Player of the Week on Feb. 21,Gulbis finished in fifth place with a three-day total of 216 (E).Sophomore Anne Lee finished the tournament tied for eighth place with athree-round total of 219 (+3). Lee's previous high finish was a tie for26th place at last year's Pac-10 Conference Championships. Arizona juniorCristina Baena tied for 31st place at 13-over-par 229, while sophomoreLaura Myerscough tied for 52nd place with a tournament total of 233 (+17).

Last Time Out at the TRW Regional Challenge: Lorena Ochoa, the top-ratedgolfer in the nation, extended her streak of consecutive tournamentvictories to five as she earned medalist honors for the ninth time in hercareer at the TRW Regional Challenge at Palos Verdes Golf Club. Ochoaposted a score of 7-under-par 206, six strokes ahead of second-placefinisher Christi Cano of Oklahoma State. Ochoa's three-round scoreshattered the previous tournament record at the TRW Regional Challenge bysix strokes. The old record of 212 was set in 1998 by Filippa Hemersson ofTulsa and in 2000 by Shauna Estes of Georgia. With her performance, the5-foot-5-inch phenom lowered her scoring average to 69.93, well below herrecord-setting average of 71.56 from her freshman season. Ochoa's dominantperformance was not enough, however, to lead Arizona to the team title.No. 2 Tulsa finished in first place with a three-day team total of 870.The Wildcats finished in sixth place, with a team score of 907. FreshmanMiriam Kraschinski wrapped up play tied for 43rd place with a three-roundtotal of 232. Junior Laura Myerscough closed the tournament tied for 36thplace. Juniors Julia Kraschinski and Anne Lee finished in 78th and 86thplaces, respectively.

Record-Setter?: A win at the Wildcat Invitational would make Lorena Ochoathe most successful golfer in UA history, giving her the most individualtournament championships in a UA career.

No Place Like Home: No tournament has been as friendly to the Wildcatwomen's golf team as the Wildcat Invitational. Arizona has won its hometournament seven times, including the last three years. The Wildcats havewon the Rainbow Wahine Invitational on six occasions and have taken tophonors five times at both the Pac-10 Conference Championships and the DickMcGuire Invitational.

A Duel in the Desert: Lorena Ochoa and Duke senior Candy Hannemann willsquare off for the third time in their college careers. Last year at theWildcat Invitational, the duo completed the regulation 54 holes tied andOchoa reigned victorious in a one-hole playoff. The two met again at theNCAA Championships and again completed regulation play tied. However,Hannemann defeated Ochoa in a two-hole sudden death playoff.

Baena Back in Action: Senior Cristina Baena will make her season debut atthe WIldcat Invitational, after missing the entire fall season and thefirst event of the spring season due to wrist surgery. The fourth-yearsenior had three top-10 finishes in 2000-01.

Garcia Comes Aboard: Upon enrolling in classes at UA at the beginning ofthe spring semester, freshman Mar Garcia, the younger sister of PGA Tourand European PGA Tour star Sergio Garcia, became eligible to compete forthe Wildcats. Garcia, a 5-foot-5-inch freshman from Castellon, Spain,hails from a family full of accomplished golfers. In addition to herbrother Sergio, her father Victor competes on the Senior PGA Tour andanother brother, also named Victor, played golf at Francis MarionUniversity. Her accomplishments include a first-place performance in the21 and under group at the 1999 Spanish Junior.

Re-Writing The Record Books: Ochoa's three-round total at the Oregon StateInvitational of 10-under-par 206 set a new Arizona record for individual54-hole score. The previous mark of 207 was shared by former Wildcatstandouts Leta Lindley (Feb. 24-25, 1992, Arizona Inv., Randolph North GC),Jenna Daniels (April 7-9, 2000, PING/ASU Inv., Karsten GC) and NatalieGulbis (May 10-12, 2001, Pac-10 Chmps., Karsten GC).

All-Time Tournament Championships: The five titles won by sophomore LorenaOchoa this season brings her career total to nine, which ties her withMarisa Baena on the all-time ranks of most individual tournamentchampionships for an Arizona woman. Baena claimed nine titles during herthree seasons as a Wildcats, including six in the 1995-96 season. Ochoapassed former Arizona great and current LPGA Player of the Year AnnikaSorenstam, who ranks third with seven individual titles.

Oregon Trail Proves Successful for Lee: Trysting Tree Golf Club inCorvallis, Ore., has been the site of two of junior Anne Lee's career-bestrounds. At the Oregon State Invitational held at Trysting Tree in earlyOctober, Lee fired a 1-under-par 71 to set a new career low. The markeclipsed her old personal best of even-par 72, which she shot on twooccasions. Most recently, Lee carded a 72 at Trysting Tree during theWildcats' 20-stroke victory at the NCAA West Regional. The junior fromNorthridge, Calif., also shot 72 at the 2001 Wildcat Invitational.

Lorena on the LPGA: Lorena Ochoa has received sponsor exemptions toparticipate in the first three LPGA tournaments held in the continentalUnited States this season, PING Banner Health, Welch's/Circle KChampionship and the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Last year, Ochoa competedin the Welch's/Circle K Championship where she tied for seventh place at12-under-par. She also tied for 21st place at the 2001 NabiscoChampionship with a four-round total of 2-over-par. Ochoa was the lowamateur finisher in both events in 2001.

Sister, Sister: With freshman Miriam Kraschinski joining the squad, theWildcats added another pair of sisters to the Arizona golf family. Miriamjoins her sophomore sister Julia in the program. They join current WildcatCristina Baena and her sister, LPGA star Marisa, as the only siblings tohave competed for Arizona.

Wildcat Coaching Staff: Now in his second year with the Arizona golfprogram, Greg Allen has led the team to six tournament championships,including the 2001 Pac-10 Conference Championship and a 20-stroke victoryat the 2001 NCAA West Regional. Last summer, he paired with Arizona men'shead coach Rick LaRose to coach the United States team to victory in 2001U.S.-Japan Collegiate Matches. Allen, who was hired in July 2000, came tothe University of Arizona from Texas where he was the assistant coach forthe Longhorns' men's golf team. Allen helped guide Texas to the 1999-2000NCAA Central Region championship and a fifth-place finish at the NCAAChampionships. Prior to coaching at Texas, Allen served as Director ofTournament Operations with the American Junior Golf Association. Allengraduated from Murray State University in 1993. He is assisted by HollyCarriker, who joined the staff in September 2001. Carriker competedcollegiately at USC for two years before transferring to Texas, where shecompleted her remaining eligibility. The Texas native is a member of theLPGA's Teaching & Club Professional Division.

NCAA FALL PREVIEW - 8th Place

Sept. 24-26, Auburn, Wash.: Sophomore Lorena Ochoa won her first tournament championship of the seasonat the NCAA Fall Preview, after tournament officials cancelled the thirdround due to rain and determined the 36-hole totals would be the finalresults. The Wildcats finished in 11th place as a team with a two-roundtotal of 606. Ochoa used consecutive sub-par rounds of 71 and 68 to claim her firsttitle of the season with a two-round total of 5-under-par 139. The 2001NCAA Fall Preview marks Ochoa's fifth career championship. Junior Laura Myerscough wrapped up play with a two-round total of8-over-par 152, while junior Anne Lee shot a two-round score of 11-over-par155. Myerscough and Lee finished tied for 41st and 64th places,respectively. Also scoring for Arizona were the Kraschinski sisters.Freshman Miriam Kraschinski tied for 93rd, while junior Julia finished in118th place.

OREGON STATE INVITATIONAL - 2nd Place

Oct. 8-10, Corvallis, Ore.: Sophomore Lorena Ochoa won individual medalist honors for the sixth timein her career and the second time of the season at the Oregon StateInvitational after posting a career-best 54-hole total of 10-under-par 206. Arizona finished tied with tournament champion California at 18-over-par882, but took second place by virtue of the NCAA tie-break policy. The Wildcats closed action at the Oregon State Invitational, held atTrysting Tree Golf Club, with a third-round of 17-over-par 305. Despiteposting identical scores, California was awarded first place over Arizonaas the low score from each team's fifth player broke the tie. Ochoa used rounds of 72, 67 and 67 to finish nine strokes ahead of AnneWalker and Sarah Huarte of California and Kim Kouwabunpat of Stanford, whotied for second at 1-under-par 215. Earning top-15 finishes for Arizonawere juniors Laura Myerscough and Anne Lee. Myerscough completed play tiedfor 10th place, while Lee tied for 14th.

HAWAII FALL INVITATIONAL - 2nd Place

Oct. 30-31, Honolulu, Hawaii: The fourth-ranked Wildcats claimed second place after finishing 21 strokesbehind tournament champion New Mexico at the Hawaii Fall Invitational.Sophomore Lorena Ochoa won her third tournament championship of the seasonas she closed action at 2-over-par 218. Arizona shot a final-round 302, its best round of the 54-hole tournament.California posted a three-round team total of 911 to wrap up the tournamentsix strokes back of the Wildcats in third place. The win was the seventhof Ochoa's career. The Guadalajara, Mexico, native's streak of consecutivetop-three finishes reached 12 tournaments after competing in Hawaii. Junior Laura Myerscough posted another top-15 finish, closing thetournament at 12-over-par 228 to tie for 14th. Junior Anne Lee, fromNorthridge, Calif., finished tied for 22nd place at 14-over-par 230. Alsoscoring for Arizona were senior Cathie Williamson and freshman MiriamKraschinski. Williamson tied for 36th, while Kraschinski took 54th place.

AUBURN TIGER-DERBY INVITATIONAL - 4th Place

Nov. 9-11, Auburn, Ala.: Lorena Ochoa continued her dominant sophomore season by winning her fourthconsecutive tournament as she carded a final-round 70 to finish six strokesahead of Georgia's Summer Sirmons and Tennessee's Young-A Yang at theAuburn Tiger-Derby Invitational. Arizona finished fourth at 35-over-par 899. Georgia took first place witha three-day team total of 21-over-par 885. Eight of the top-10 rankedteams in the nation competed in the 54-hole tournament. Ochoa's six-strokevictory gives her eight career wins. The final round saw Ochoa shoot paror better for the ninth time in 11 rounds this season. The sophomoreposted a 54-hole total of 6-under-par 210. Junior Anne Lee contributed to the Wildcats' success with a three-roundscore of 12-over-par 228, good for a tie for 24th place. Laura Myerscough,a junior from Charleston, Ill., closed the tournament tied for 21st placeat 11-over-par. Freshman Miriam Kraschinski tied for 39th place at18-over-par, while junior Julia Kraschinski tied for 52nd at 26-over-par.Senior Cathie Williamson competed as an individual and tied for 60th place.

TRW Regional Challenge - 6th Place

Feb. 11-13, Palos Verdes, Calif.: Lorena Ochoa, the top-rated golfer in the nation, extended her streak ofconsecutive tournament victories to five as she earned medalist honors forthe ninth time in her career at the TRW Regional Challenge at Palos VerdesGolf Club. Ochoa posted a score of 7-under-par 206, six strokes ahead ofsecond-place finisher Christi Cano of Oklahoma State. Ochoa's three-round score shattered the previous tournament record at theTRW Regional Challenge by six strokes. The old record of 212 was set in1998 by Filippa Hemersson of Tulsa and in 2000 by Shauna Estes of Georgia.With her performance, the 5-foot-5-inch phenom lowered her scoring averageto 69.93, well below her record-setting average of 71.56 from her freshmanseason. Ochoa's dominant performance was not enough, however, to lead Arizona tothe team title. No. 2 Tulsa finished in first place with a three-day teamtotal of 870. The Wildcats finished in sixth place, with a team score of 907. Freshman Miriam Kraschinski wrapped up play tied for 43rd place with athree-round total of 232. Junior Laura Myerscough closed the tournamenttied for 36th place. Juniors Julia Kraschinski and Anne Lee finished in78th and 86th places, respectively.

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