By Shane Bacon
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday February 26, 2002
The Arizona women's golf team dug a huge hole yesterday as it dropped from third place to ninth at the Arizona National Golf Club.
With windy, cold conditions, the Wildcats had a tough day and had only two players break 80, effectively dropping them out on contentions of their own tournament.
The number one team in the nation started yesterday with high hopes, but nothing went the UA players' way, and disappointment was the only thing that the players and head coach Greg Allen felt after the scorecards.
"The girls seem to be trying too hard on their home course," Allen said. "We're hitting it places we've never seen before and making scores that we know we can't make."
Erica Blasberg, the second ranked player in the nation, is tied for first place, supplying the lone bright spot for the team. However, a disappointing finish left a bad taste in the freshman's mouth.
After playing the first 16 holes at two under par, Blasberg hit a shot on the 178-yard, par-3 17th into the desert, and after missing the green with her third shot, she failed to get up and down forcing her to card a triple-bogey, her worst score of the tournament.
Blasberg stepped up to the par-5 18th and smashed a drive down the middle of the fairway, a place she found herself most of the day. But two bad iron shots and a missed 20-footer for par forced her to walk off the course with a 73, finishing the last two holes four-over par.
A solid 71 by Pepperdine's Carolina Llano put her in a tie with Blasberg, both one shot ahead of first-round leader Erin Tone who followed her opening 68 with hockey sticks, a 77.
Pepperdine is leading the Arizona Invitational with two consistent rounds (294-292=586), the more impressive of the two being the solid second round in the tough conditions.
Four of the five players on the Waves are in the top 20, the only team with that many players at the top of the scoreboard.
The biggest surprise for Arizona is freshman Cassandra Kirkland, who after an opening 72 in her first ever collegiate start shot a 76 yesterday, putting her in a tie for tenth 10th going into the final round.
Kirkland said she still believes that she isn't playing as well as she could.
"I'm not hitting it really well, but I'm playing decent." Kirkland said. "I had two double (bogeys) today, but the course was playing really difficult and after looking at the scoreboard, I was happy with my score."
The Paris native said she is used to being in the hunt of the golf tournament, and this position isn't anything she can't handle.
Even with the disappointing second round, Allen is staying optimistic about this week.
"Our theme of the whole season has been that we want to peak at the right time. Even though we want to win every tournament, we're going to learn from this and hopefully go out tomorrow and make up some strokes," Allen said.
The team will be teeing off at 7:30 a.m. today at the Arizona National Golf Club in Tucson.