Women's Golf Travels To The National Championship

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May 17, 2004

Teeing Off: The Arizona Women's golf team placed second in the 2004 Central NCAA Regional Tournament in Normal, Ill., at the University Golf Course on May 6-8, 2004. The team now will prepare for competition at the NCAA Championship on May 18-21, 2004 in Auburn, Ala.

The Course: The Wildcats are familiar with the home course of the 2004 NCAA National Championship. The team played the course in September at the NCAA Fall Preview where the team placed third. The course is par 72 across 6,215 yards. The course is located in Opelika, Ala. Grand National is a naturalist course with 12 holes touching the lake. Some golf writers have considered this course to be one of the finest in the world.

The Field: Duke, UNLV, North Carolina, Florida State, Wake Forest, Furman, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt, ARIZONA, Michigan State, Southern California, Baylor, Purdue, New Mexico, Texas A & M, UCLA, California, Stanford, Washington, Georgia, Ohio State, Arizona State, Texas and individuals from South Carolina, East Carolina, Southern Methodist, Illinois State, Cal State Northridge and San Jose State

Schedule: Two practice rounds will be held on Sunday, May 16 and Monday, May 17. First, second, third and fourth round action of the NCAA Championship will tee off at 8 a.m. CST. Players will tee off from either the 1st or the 10th hole.

The Rankings: The Wildcats jumped up one to 9th on the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index. Arizona had been previously ranked as high as second in the poll since the beginning of the fall season, but then took a drop after their ninth place finish at the Wildcat Invitational. Individually, sophomore Erica Blasberg moved up to third with a rating of 70.26.

2003-04 Wildcat Line-up: Erica Blasberg (72.11), Cassandra Kirkland (76.73), Mar Garcia(77.29), Lani Elston (76.66), Alejandra Martin(75.66)

Last Time On The Course: The Arizona women's golf team came from behind to finish second, after its final round of competition at the NCAA Central Regional in Normal, Ill. Arizona advanced to the NCAA Championship in Auburn, Ala. The Wildcats shot a 50-over-par 902 to trail central regional champion, Vanderbilt by nine strokes after they shot a 41-over-par 893. Michigan State (906) and Southern California (910) occupied third and fourth, respectively. Baylor shot a 63-over-par 915 to round out the top-5. Individually, sophomore Erica Blasberg won the individual medalist honors after shooting a final round 71 (E). Blasberg shot 1-under-par 212 for the entire tournament. The native of Corona, Calif. added her fourth individual honor this season, by winning this tournament. Junior Mar Garcia joined sophomore Alejandra Martin in a tie for 10th after carding a 14-over-par 227. Sophomore Lani Elston tied for 63rd place after shooting 25-over-par 238. While sophomore Cassandra Kirkland tied for 69th after shooting a 26-over-par 239.

Head Coach Greg Allen's Thoughts On The Second Place Finish: 'We are really happy with our performance. It was a great team effort today, the girls proved they could win. We made smart decisions to place second, the team is very excited to advance to the championship.'

Head Coach Greg Allen's Thoughts on Erica Blasberg: 'It was good to see Erica [Blasberg] win today. It's been a while since she got a win. This should give her confidence going into the championship.'

Perfect Par: Sophomore Erica Blasberg hit 14 even-to-or-under-par after the Central Regional. During ther freshman season, Blasberg grabbed 16 even-to-or-under-par.

Graceful Garcia: Junior Mar Garcia shot her lowest round of the season in the third round of the NCAA Central Regional. Garcia shot a 70, which ties her career low round, she shot in 2002 at the Wildcat Invitational.

Fourth Fantastic: Sophomore Erica Blasberg won her fourth tournament of the season at the NCAA Central Regional to help the Wildcats advance to the NCAA Championship. Blasberg bumped her career total for individual meadlist honors to six.

Amazing Alejandra: After becoming eligible last week, sophomore Alejandra Martin tied for 10th in her first tournament of the season. The sophomore shot a 225 (+14).

Marching Back: Sophomore Alejandra Martin del Campo got caught in the middle of a Pac-10 transfer rule that kept her ineligible all season. 'Thanks to the efforts of our compliance director Bill Morgan and our faculty rep Doug Woodard, they have worked endless hours with the Pac-10 to make this rule retroactive and have gotten her eligibility restored through the NCAA,' Head Coach Greg Allen said. Martin will compete with the Wildcats in Normal, Ill.

11 and Counting: This will be the 11th consecutive year Arizona women's golf has participated in the NCAA Regionals.

Pac-10 Honors: Three of the Women's golfers recieved honors from the Pac-10. Sophomore Erica Blasberg for the second year was named to the First Team All Pac-10. Sophomore Lani Elston and sophomore Cassandra Kirkland were named to the Pac-10 honorable mention list.

Top One: Sophomore Lani Elston's top-5 performance at the Pac-10 Championship was her best career finish as a Wildcat. Elston tied for fifth after shooting a 225 (+9).

3...The Magical Number: The women's golf team and sophomore Erica Blasberg both placed third in the 2004 Pac-10 Championship. The team took third after carding a 923 (+59). Blasberg claimed the third place, individual honors, after stroking a 221 (+5).

Title Town : At the last seven Pac-10 tournament the Wildcats have won five of the Pac-10 team titles. The Wildcats additionally, won in 1992.

The Best Of The Pac-10s: In the last 12 years five Wildcats won Pac-10 championship individual meadlist honors. Annika Sorenstam (1992) was the first Arizona golfer to claim the honor, with Lorena Ochoa being the last, in 2001.

Extravaganza Allen: Wildcat Head Coach Greg Allen participated in the 2004 Wildcat Extravaganza, along with Athletic Director Jim Livingood and Head Football Coach Mike Stoops to name a few. The golf action will teed off on Friday, April 16 at the Wildcats home course Arizona National.

Effective Elston: Sophomore Lani Elston shot her career best as a Wildcat in the PING/ASU Invitational. She ended the tournament carding a 219 (+3) and also shot a career round of 69 in the final round.

Minus One: Sophomore Erica Blasberg did not make the trip to Austin, Texas for the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational because she participated in the LPGA's Kraft Nabisco Championship which was held at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. on March 25-28, 2004. Blasberg shot a 15-over-par 159 to miss the cut.

Jumpin' In: Sophomore Erica Blasberg made an appearance in the LPGA's Welch's/Fry's Championship in Tucson, Ariz. on March 11-14th. Blasberg along with Joan Pitcock were sponsor exemption participatants in this event. Blasberg shot a 146 (+6) and did not make the cut. Several former Wildcats joined Blasberg, the list includes; Lorena Ochoa, Marisa Baena, Jenna Daniels, Natalie Gulbis, Chris Johnson, Kathryn Marshall, Laura Myerscoug

A and B: The Wildcats spilt their team for the Mountain View Collegiate. Arizona used their B-squad to compete. The squad finished 17th.

Classic Christy: Sophomore Katie Christy shot her best as a Wildcat in the Mountain View Collegiate. Christy finished the tournament 21-over-par 237. Saturday's afternoon round was Christy's collegiate best round of golf. She went 1-under-par 71.

Golfin' Gavin: Freshman Rachel Gavin played her collegiate best at the Mountain View Collegiate. Gavin shot a 242 (+26) at the tournament.

Not Sweet Home: The Wildcats suffered their worst finish of the 2003-04 season at their home tournament, the Wildcat Invitational. Arizona finished ninth out of 15 teams on their home course, Arizona National. At the 2003 Wildcat Invitational the women's golfers placed ninth also.

Drivin' in the Rain: At the Wildcat Invitational on Monday, February 23 rain drenched Arizona National and the women golfers competing. Several player blamed the rain for their woes, while others flurished in the stormy conditions.

Making The Grade: In the Dec. 20-27, 2003 issue of Golfweek the Arizona Women's Golfers recieved a letter grade of A. The Golfweek staff cited 'All four finishes in top-6, including a victory at Washington' as the reason for the A grade.

Sophomore Sensation: Sophomore Erica Blasberg, a pre-season All-American selection, won three individual title during the fall season. Her latest at the Pepsi-Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif. on Oct. 17-19. Blasberg's first season victory came at the Mason Rudolph Invitational on Sept. 26-28, followed by her second victory at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational on Oct. 6-8.

Record Setting Blasberg: The Pepsi-Stanford Invitational was Erica Blasberg's best three-rounds of golf in her career at Arizona. In all three rounds Blasberg shot under par, carding a 209 (-7) to tie her with Duke's Elizabeth Janangelo for first.

Wonderful Welch: Sophomore Whitney Welch shot her collegiate best, by posting 73-75-73-221(+5) at the Pepsi-Stanford Invitational.

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 leader board at the Preview by shooting an even par 72. In her final round Kirkland tied with fellow Wildcat sophomore Erica Blasberg after shooting a 1-under-par.

New to the Greens: The Wildcat Invitational was the first event of the season for freshman Rachel Gavin. Gavin placed tied for 61st after shooting 31-over-par 244.

Superior Sophomores: Head coach Greg Allen took four sophomores to the team's first three events of the fall. Erica Blasberg, Lani Elston, Whitney Welch and Cassandra Kirkland helped the Wildcats place in the top five in the Fall's first three events.

Wildcat Coaching Staff: A six-year college coaching veteran, Greg Allen has led the Arizona Wildcats to nine tournament championships in just four years at the helm of the program. Included in the team's accomplishments under Allen 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. Allen, hired in July 2000, came to the University of Arizona from Texas where he was the assistant coach for the Longhorn's men's golf team. 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. Jody Niemann-Dansie, hired in July of 2002, assists him. Niemann-Danise 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 team in Tempe.

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