Spring Season Opens For Women's Golf at Regional Challenge
Feb. 3, 2003
Teeing Off: The Arizona Wildcats women's golf team swings into action, opening the spring season at the 2003 Northrup Grumman Regional Challenge, Feb. 10-12, after a three-month layoff since its last competition. Arizona, the top-rated team in the nation, heads to Palos Verdes, Calif., for the eighth annual edition of the tournament. The Wildcats have won the event twice in its seven-year history (2000 and 2001). Arizona individuals have won medalist honors the last two years, Lorena Ochoa in 2001 and Natalie Gulbis in 2000.
Tournament Schedule: The three-day tournament will feature three 18 hole rounds each day, Monday through Wednesday. Teams will participate in a practice round on Sunday, Feb. 9.
Some Tournament Themes: Arizona opens the spring schedule as the country's top-rated team, how will the Wildcats respond with a bulls-eye on their backs... Greg Allen's squad attempts to regain a championship which it had held for two straight years until last year's disappointing sixth-place finish... Arizona puts its depth on display and hopes the well-rounded team concept pays dividends... With the top two squads in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance index in the field, will the Regional Challenge become a tete-a-tete between the No. 1 Arizona Wildcats and the No. 2 Oklahoma State Cowgirls?
Course: Palos Verdes Golf Club in Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., will again serve as the tournament course for the Regional Challenge hosted by the Ohio State University. The course is a par-71 layout which plays to a yardage of 5,912 yards.
Tournament Field: Arizona, Arizona State, California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Pepperdine, Purdue, Southern Cal, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, Tulsa, UCLA.
Live on the 'Net: Live scoring of the tournament will be provided by Golfstat, Inc. To access team and individual scores in real-time, simply head to Golfstat.com.
Wildcat Lineup and 2002-03 Statistics:Golfer Year Avg. Top 10/20 Low Rnd. EventsErica Blasberg Fr. 72.25 3/0 69 4Anne Lee Sr. 74.90 2/0 70 4Miriam Kraschinski So. 75.00 2/0 70 4Laura Myerscough Sr. 75.66 0/1 73 2Julia Kraschinski Sr. 77.00 0/0 73 3
Last Time Out at the Auburn Tiger-Derby Invitational: Arizona took third place at the Auburn Tiger-Derby Invitational, finishing at 18-over-par 882. Wildcat Erica Blasberg continued her successful freshman campaign as she took third place individually with a three-day score of 2-under-par 214. Tennessee won the team title with a team score of 871 (+7). Blasberg claimed her third consecutive top-three finish by placing third with a 54-hole score of 214. She shot even-par 72 in the final round to extend her streak of rounds at par or better to five. Senior Anne Lee provided a solid performance, tying for 10th place at 5-over-par 221. Lee, from Northridge, Calif., shot a career-best score with her second-round 70. The top-10 finish is the third of her career. Sophomore Mar Garcia shared 20th place with three other golfers at 8-over-par 224. Miriam and Julia Kraschinski closed action in 40th and 47th places respectively. Freshman Katie Christy, making her collegiate debut, took 72nd place while competing as an individual. Arizona was without senior All-American Laura Myerscough and freshman Whitney Welch. Myerscough sat out the tournament to concentrate on schoolwork after returning from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where she competed in the World Amateur Golf Team Championships. Welch missed action due to a minor strain in her back.
Last Year at the TRW Regional Challenge: Lorena Ochoa extended her streak of consecutive tournament victories to five as she earned medalist honors for the ninth time in her career at the 2002 TRW Regional Challenge. Ochoa posted a score of 7-under-par 206, six strokes ahead of the second-place finisher. Her three-round score of 206 shattered the previous tournament record at the TRW Regional Challenge by six strokes. With her performance, the 5-foot-5-inch phenom lowered her scoring average to 69.93, well below her record-setting average of 71.56 from her freshman season. Ochoa's dominant performance 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. Freshman Miriam Kraschinski wrapped up play tied for 43rd place with a three-round total of 232. Junior Laura Myerscough closed the tournament tied for 36th place. Juniors Julia Kraschinski and Anne Lee finished in 78th and 86th places, respectively.
Historically Speaking: In the seven years the Regional Challenge has existed, Arizona has won the event twice, in 2000 and 2001. The only other two-time winner is Tulsa, which won the tournament in 1998 and 2002. Arizona also boasts two individual champions as Natalie Gulbis won in 2001 and Lorena Ochoa was victorious in 2002.
Fab Freshmen: Following the tradition of freshmen success in the UA women's golf program, Erica Blasberg has emerged as the Wildcats' most consistent performer and earned the nation's top individual ranking. She joins other freshmen phenoms such as Annika Sorenstam, Marisa Baena, Natalie Gulbis and Lorena Ochoa as individuals who have won tournaments in their first season in the program.
Regional Challenge Records: Conditions may have been just right for low scores last year as records for team and individual score were established. Arizona's Lorena Ochoa shattered the old record (212) by six strokes with her score of 7-under-par 206. Tulsa set a tournament record by shooting 870 (+18).
Career Best: Senior Anne Lee notched a career best low round when she shot 2-under-par 70 in the second round of the Auburn Tiger-Derby Invitational. Her 54-hole score (220, +5) at the Auburn tournament was only two shots off of her 54-hole career best, set at the 2001 Wildcat Invitational. By placing 10th at the Auburn Tiger-Dergby Invitational, Lee posted her second top-10 of the season and third of her career.
Tough Room: Freshman Erica Blasberg, top-rated in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, is around top-notch student-athletes while on the golf course and in McKale Center. But even at home in her dorm, Blasberg is still accompanied by another elite student-athlete. Blasberg shares her dorm room with Kim Glass of the UA volleyball team. Glass was named national freshman of the year and a second-team All-American for her efforts this season.
Depth Perception: One of head coach Greg Allen's toughest tasks this season will be to make sure the proper lineup hits the course each week. With talented golfers all over the UA roster, Allen believes there are eight golfers who can compete for first place any week. Through the fall season, three different Wildcats had earned two or more top-10 finishes, while two others had registered top-20 finishes.
Myerscough in Malaysia: Senior Laura Myerscough missed action at the Stanford-Pepsi Intercollegiate beacuse of her participation in the World Amateur Golf Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Myerscough tied for 21st place individually and helped the United States' three woman squad to fifth place in the 39-team tournament. The Stanford-Pepsi Intercollegiate marked the first Arizona tournament Myerscough missed since the Golf World Invitational in November of 2000.
Doing the Solo Thing: With individual victories by Erica Blasberg and Miriam Kraschinski so far this season, 17 Arizona women have won medalist honors in the history of the program. Dating to 1977, those 17 golfers have combined for 59 tournament championships. The 2002-03 season is the 10th time in the last 15 years that at least two Wildcats have each won an individual tournament title.
For Starters: Arizona kicked off its 2002-03 season in style, taking the title at the Fall Preview. The Wildcats received consistent performances from each member of the lineup--helping the team to card three sub-300 rounds. The team only accomplished that feat twice in the 2001-02 season, at the PING/ASU Invitational and in its second-place showing at the NCAA Championships.
Kool Kraschinski: Sophomore Miriam Kraschinski won her first career individual title at the Fall Preview in September, the tournament saw her set a number of career bests. In addition to her career best first place finish, the sophomore from Whitianga, New Zealand shot her best single round score (70 in the second and third rounds of the Preview) and her best three-round tournament score (215). Her subpar performances in the final two rounds of the Preview marked the first time in her career that she has broken par.
On From the AJGA: Freshmen Erica Blasberg and Whitney Welch enter the University of Arizona with impressive junior golf resumes and are expected to have a significant impact on the Wildcat lineup immediately. Both have been named to the American Junior Golf Association's All-America teams on multiple occasions. Welch was named to the AJGA's All-America first-team in 2001 and won honorable mention honors in 2000. Blasberg has been honored as an All-American by the AJGA three consecutive years; winning first-team honors in 2000 and second-team honors in 2001 and 1999.
Arizona Championship Streak: Arizona extended its streak of years in which it has won a team title to eight after it captured the title at the NCAA Fall Preview in September. The last Arizona team to go winless was the 1994-95 squad, which had five top-five finishes. During the eight-season streak, Arizona has produced two national championship teams, five Pac-10 titles, four NCAA West Regional titles and 35 total tournament championships. Included in that stretch was the 1999-2000 team that won eight consecutive events.
Wildcat Coaching Staff: A five-year college coaching veteran, Greg Allen has led the Arizona Wildcats to eight tournament championships in just over two years at the helm of the program. Included in the team's accomplishments under Allen's watch are the 2001 and 2002 Pac-10 Conference Championships, a national runner-up finish and a 20-stroke victory at the 2001 NCAA West Regional. In the summer of 2001, he paired with Arizona men's head coach Rick LaRose to coach the United States team to victory in 2001 U.S.-Japan Collegiate Matches. Allen, hired in July 2000, came 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. Prior to coaching at Texas, Allen served as Director of Tournament Operations with the American Junior Golf Association. Allen graduated from Murray State University in 1993. He is assisted by Jody Niemann-Dansie, who was hired in July 2002. Niemann-Dansie played two years on the LPGA after completing her collegiate eligibility. She is a graduate of Arizona State University and was a member of the 1997 and 1998 NCAA National Championship teams in Tempe.