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Feb 13, 2004

BOULDER - The University of Colorado's women's golf team will open their spring schedule Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 16-17 at the eighth annual Bay Area Classic on the par-72 6,006-yard Golf Club at Boulder Ridge in San Jose, Calif.


            While the Buffs enter the spring portion of the season off one of their strongest fall efforts in program history with a 307.6, they did so on a roller-coaster ride.  They teed off head coach Anne Kelly's seventh season with an opening round 288, just two strokes shy of the school record, but closed out the fall schedule with a pair of 319s.


            "We were a little inconsistent this fall," said Kelly.  "We didn't play great, but had a couple of really good rounds as a team.  The team is now determined to have a good spring and play some good tournaments."


            Following the fall, the Buffs have been doing a lot of physical training and they feel like they're in good, strong shape.  Kelly and her team also took a look and re-evaluated their preseason goals going into the second semester, "Everyone has their own individual goals, but as a team we're getting back to basics"one shot at a time.  If we can achieve that and our personal goals, you're going to achieve everything else as a team."


            Entering Monday's first round, CU sophomore Maria Persson Gulda is pacing the Buffs with a 75.4 strokes per average in six tournaments and was CU's low score in its last four fall outings.  Freshman Hannah Hoch burst on the scene with a career opening eighth place finish at the Ptarmigan Ram Fall Classic in nearby Fort Collins before a CU freshman best second place effort a week later in Denver, but played bridesmaid to Persson Gulda the remainder of the semester.  She opens the spring campaign with a still impressive 76.6 average.


            "Maria has made significant improvements in her game.  The work she did this summer has really paid off," said Kelly on the surprises of the fall.  "Hannah wasn't really a surprise.  I knew she was a good player.  It's tough to jump in as a freshman and be our No. 1 and 2 player is a hard role to take on."


            Robin Worthington has saved the best for last as the senior is having the best season of her career with a 78.2 strokes per average in 10 rounds and will look to carry that momentum into the final semester.  While off her sophomore season pace, junior Allison Rella had a solid fall with a 78.4 strokes per average and her third career top-10 finish in Denver.  Sophomore Jessie Malcolm rounds out the tournament travel squad and will bring an 81.7 into San Jose.  She has already played six more loops than her entire freshman season and continues to make strides.


            Kelly admits that due to this week's inclement weather, she had to hand pick next week's travel squad as they weren't able to play a qualifying round, and haven't played a full round on grass since Feb. 6.


            "It was a tough decision because Gina has been hitting well and Jen has been swinging well and Lindsay (Koth) continues to improve.  We've been able to hit some balls and work on our short game, but this tournament makes everyone look forward to good weather and green grass and simply just playing golf."


The 36-hole tournament will feature a field of 14 regional teams including 2001 team champion and current ninth-ranked Washington, co-hosts San Francisco and San Jose State, Brigham Young, Cal Poly, Cal State Northridge, Colorado (currently ranked 87th in the most recent Golfweek rankings), Colorado State, Hawai'i, Long Beach State, New Mexico State, Portland State, Santa Clara and UC-Irvine.


            "This is a smaller, but good field," complimented Kelly.  "These are teams that we need to see and teams that we need to go head to head with.  It's a great tournament to get the spring started with."