Wildcats in Search of First Tournament Championship of 2003

Sept. 24, 2003

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Teeing Off: After one week off the Arizona women golfers take the course to compete this weekend in the Mason Rudolph Invitational in Nashville, Tenn. The tournament takes place on Sept. 26-28 at Vanderbilt's Legends Club. In their last competition the Wildcats placed third out of 18 teams at the NCAA Fall Preview at the Grand National Lake Course in Auburn, Ala.

The Course: The 2003 Mason Rudolph Championship will be held at the Vanderbilt Legends Club. The course is located 20 miles south of downtown Nashville in Franklin, Tenn. The course features two 18-hole championship courses. The competition will be contested on the par 72 layout with the length of 6,276 yards.

The Field: Tournament host Vanderbilt, Arizona, UCLA, Oregon State, Southern California, Tulane, Missouri, Auburn, Florida, South Carolina, UNC-Wilmington, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Kentucky, Georgia and Furman.

Tournament Schedule: The tournament will run for three days, with 18 holes being contested in each round. Beginning on Friday. Sept. 26, Arizona will tee off at 8:15 a.m. EST and then the same time on Saturday. The tournament concludes on Sunday, Sept. 28 with a shot-gun start at 8:00 a.m. EST. On Thursday, Sept. 25, teams will participate in a practice round.

Last Year at the Manson Rudolph Invitational: Arizona took second place last year at the Mason Rudolph Invitiational. The team posed a 23-over-par 887 at the Legends of Tennessee Club. Vanderbilt took home the championship by shooting 14-over-par 878. UA golfer Erica Blasberg led the team with a second-place finish. Blasberg, last year's Pac-10 Freshman and Golfer of the year ended the tournament at even-par 216. Blasbergs' teammate, Miriam Kraschinski, tied for fifth place, collecting a 6-over-par 222.

Wildcat Lineup and 2003-04 stats: Erica Blasberg (71.66),Cassandra Kirkland(71.66),Whitney Welch (75.00), Mar Garcia (75.33), Lani Elston (75.66), Miriam Krachinski (COMPETING AS AN INDIVIDUAL).

NCAA Fall Preview: The Wildcats made an entrance into the 2003-04 season placing third at the NCAA Fall Preview in Alabama on Sept. 12-14. UA shot a 1-over-par 289, landing them behind champion Duke and second-place Auburn. Arizona golfers Cassandra Kirkland and Erica Blasberg tied for third place after carding a 1-under-par 215. Additionally, sophomore Whitney Welch tied for 29th place, 225 (+9), junior Mar Garcia tied for 32nd, 226 (+10), and sophomore Lani Elston tied for 36th, 227 (+11).

Cool Cassandra: Sophomore Cassandra Kirkland stayed in the top five throughout all three rounds at the NCAA Fall Preview. On her first day of competition Kirkland tied with Auburn's Nicole Hage, with both carding 4-under-par 68. On her second day, she stood atop the leaderboard at the Preview by shooting even-par 72. In her round Kirkland tied with fellow wildcat Erica Blasberg after shooting a 1-under-par.

Blast Off: Sophomore Eric Blasberg, a pre-season All-American is on a quest for her first individual title of the season at the Mason Rudolph Invitational. Blasberg, who tied for third at the NCAA Fall Preview, looks to improve her current stroke average of 71.66. In her first competition of her sophomore season, Blasberg carded a low round of 70, marking below par or equal to par twice in the three-day tournament. Last year at the Mason Rudolph Invitiational, Blasberg placed second on the leaderboard by shooting an even-par 216.

Rankings: In the first Golfweek/Sagarin preference index of the 2003-04 season, the Wildcats stand at fifth place in the national rankings. UA recieved a 73.21 computer ranking. Michigan State leads the country with a rating of 72.51 after its first event. Auburn (72.54) and Duke (72.54) hold the No. 2 and No. 3 positions. In the individual rankings, Arizona golfer Cassandra Kirkland ranks 21st in the country with a rating of 71.88. Sophomore Erica Blasberg doesn't fall too far behind with a rating of 71.83, putting her in the No. 24 position. Sophomore Whitney Welch is No. 150 (75.16), junior Mar Garcia is No. 169 (75.49) , and sophomore Lani Elston sits at No. 199 (75.83).

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