Loaded Field At Pac-10 Championships
The 2011 Pac-10 Women's Golf Championship is set to play host to as stellar a field as ever. Five of the top 10 individual women's golfers in the nation hail from the Pac-10. In the team competition, three of the top five and five of the top 10 teams were from the Pac-10.
USC has been atop the national rankings multiple times this year and has a stellar squad that should be contenders for both the team and individual titles. Pepperdine-transfer junior Lisa McCloskey has been a consistent golfer for Troy, finishing in the top 10 in a majority of the tournaments she has entered this season. The team is led by senior Lizette Salas, who is poised in 2011 to become USC's first four-time All-American. Salas leads USC active players with the most career rounds in the 60s and will be one to watch come championship time.
Perennial favorite Arizona State will be ready to go with a full team and is always dangerous at the Pac-10 Championships, and this year is led by the strength of experienced juniors Giulia Molinaro and Carlota Ciganda. Ciganda comes into this year's championship as the defending back-to-back Pac-10 champion. Her victory over then-teammate Juliana Murcia in a playoff last year made her the first golfer to ever capture back-to-back Pac-10 titles. She will look to continue her individual title winning streak in 2011.
The 2010 Pac-10 team champion Arizona Wildcats are poised to defend their title as they take to the course in Tempe. Junior Isabelle Boineau, who had two top-10 finishes last season and tied for 10th at least year's Pac-10 championships will be a leader for this relatively experienced squad. Along with Boineau, senior Alejandra Llaneza, junior Nikki Koller and junior Margarita Ramos should be be contributors for the Cats.
The UCLA Bruins, consistently ranked in the top 10 this season, will look to their star golfers junior Stephanie Kono and senior Glory Yang, along with redshirt sophomore Lee Lopez to propel the team to the top of the Conference championship. As a team, the Bruins have won some tough tournaments in 2011, including the SEC/Pac-10 Challenge and the Bruin Wave Invitational.
Junior Joanne Lee, the Golden Bears' MVP in 2010, will be a top contender for the individual title. In this year's fall season, she had only three rounds over par and shot a school record 65 (-6) in the opening round of the SEC/Pac-10 Challenge. She leads an experienced team into the championships, along with senior Pia Halbig, junior Emily Childs and junior transfer Daniela Holmqvist.
Stanford, another strong Pac-10 team contender, will bring a talented squad, led by senior Rebecca Durham and sophomore Sally Watson to Tempe. Sophomore Kristina Wong has also been a consistent golfer for the Cardinal during the 2010-11 season. Watson and Wong, both 2010 All-Pac-10 second team selections as freshmen will look to take their experience over the top in 2011.
The Ducks will ride the strength of senior Kendra Little, the first three-time All-American in Eugene. Last season, she finished tied for third at the Pac-10 championships individually with a score of 219 (72-75-72), the best individual finish by an Oregon golfer. Her finish helped propel the Ducks to a third place team finish, the best all-time. Oregon will once again look towards their senior leader to guide the team in Tempe. Sophomore Cheyenne Hickle is an up-and-comer for the Ducks and should be an impact golfer at this year's championships.
Washington's top golfer, senior Anya Alvarez leads the Huskies into the Pac-10 championships. The UW record holder for the lowest three-round total as she shot a 203 (68-6669-203), Alvarez will look to improve upon her career-best Pac-10 finish of 14th in 2008.
Oregon State is led by junior Whitney French who played in all 11 tournaments last season as a sophomore and all 10 as a freshman. She will look to improve on her 33rd place finish, the highest of any Beaver in last year's Pac-10 Championships.
Washington State returns to the Pac-10 Championship with their highest placing competitor from 2010, sophomore Emma Betland. Her scoring average of 77.53 last season ranks in the top five all-time average for a freshman in Pullman. Freshman Mallory Kent has made an impact in her first season for the Cougars and will look for a good finish in her first Pac-10 Championship.
The field is strong from top to bottom, for both teams and individuals at this year's Pac-10 Championship. On a fast course like ASU's Karsten Golf Course, expect low scores and excellent competition as teams jockey for the coveted title.