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Wildcat Golf roaring to go in Tucson

By Shane Bacon
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday February 24, 2003

The women's golf team is back in action this week for its only tournament of the year in the Old Pueblo, hosting the Wildcat Invitational starting today at the Arizona National Golf Club.

Mark it:

When: Feb. 24 ÷ 26
Where: Arizona National Golf Club, Tucson, AZ
Tee Times: 7 p.m. shotgun

With a runner-up finish two weeks ago, the team is set to change its misfortune at the Regional Challenge after the last round was rained out, cutting short a comeback bid.

With a change to the team, and players seeing their first action in quite a while, the Wildcats look to grab the title that they lost last year for the first time in four years.

"This week, we will have the same lineup we had at the first of the year for the Fall Preview," coach Greg Allen said. "We look to have a good shot this week."

Another exciting first is the start of Cassandra Kirkland, the freshman native of France, who will be competing in her first collegiate tournament of the year. Kirkland was named as a National Elite Athlete by the French Ministry in 2001 and 2002 before coming across the Atlantic to join the Wildcats.

Also, freshman Whitney Welch will play for the first time since her back trouble began in September. The freshman was an AJGA All-American and has played two events, and has a scoring average of 76.16.

The field isn't as strong as the past years, mostly because of the Puerto Rico Classic falling on the same week. Even with a weaker field than normal, Coach Allen said he is sure that the tournament will be no cake walk for Arizona

"Even with some of the best teams in the nation like Duke and Auburn going to Puerto Rico, (the Wildcat Invitational will) have teams like Vanderbilt, USC and Washington, all ranked in the top ten nationally," Allen said.

With seven out of the top 20 teams in the field, and the top four individuals in the nation all competing, the competition will be far from weak.

The Wildcats will tee off Monday at the Arizona National Golf Club as the No. 1 team in the nation, and with the team's depth and host of confident players, their stay at top might continue come the tournament's conclusion on Wednesday.

Men finish first in Hawaii

The men's golf team took its second title in a row last week at the John Burns Intercollegiate, winning the tournament in Hawaii by seven shots.

The team showed its depth with four out of the five golfers finishing under-par for the tournament, and four players were under par for their final round 8-under 280.

Junior Chris Nallen continued to put up All-American numbers as he finished the tournament in a tie for second place, his second straight runner-up finish and his fifth top-10 of the 2002-2003 season.

The ĪCats will be in Las Vegas next, March 7-9, at the Las Vegas Invitational.

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