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Women's golf slump continues

By Shane Bacon
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
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Yesterday at Arizona National Golf Club, a rainbow appeared in the middle of continual rainstorms. The Arizona women's golf team is probably hoping it was a sign of better play to come.

The Wildcats dug themselves a huge hole after the first round of the Wildcat Invitational.

The UA women shot a 27-over par 311 through rain and hail at the Arizona National Golf Club and fell to eighth place, 26 shots behind leader Ohio State.

"We played like the weather today, which was not very good," said head coach Greg Allen.

The Wildcats were led by sophomore Erica Blasberg, the No. 3 player in the nation, who shot a 4-over-par 75 and put her in a tie for 17th place after the first day.

The Corona, Calif., native said she was happy with her play on the back nine, but putting woes continued to haunt her.

"I thought I played pretty well yesterday, (given) the rain and all the waiting," Blasberg said. "I played so well on the back nine, but every putt was right up to the lip. But it just wasn't happening."

Blasberg said she felt she hit a lot of putts right on line, but none wanted to fall.

No hole exemplified this more than the par-5 18th, where Blasberg hit a 35-foot birdie putt right on line; the ball bounced over the hole hole and continued five feet by, leading to a three-putt that ended her round.

"It was such a frustrating (round) because I had so many birdie opportunities and I just let them go," Blasberg said. "I had a long birdie putt (on the last hole), and I just though I'd go for this because every one I hit was short. And I hit it 5 feet past the hole and wasn't mentally prepared to make that putt."

The Wildcats had just three players in the top 30, with Cassandra Kirkland and Lani Elston finishing in a tie for 28th at a 6-over-par 77.

Arizona's Rachel Gavin, making her first appearance in a collegiate event, shot a first-round 82, and sophomore Whitney Welch rounded out the UA five with an 86.

Though the Wildcats seemed frustrated with their opening day performance, Allen said he knows the team has the potential to pull itself out of the hole it has dug.

"We've shot great numbers on this course in practice, and it is just a matter of executing in competition," Allen said. "All five of our girls have the capability of shooting under par at any time."

Ohio State's Allison Hanna is tied for the lead with Sara Huarte of California. Both posted a first-round 68.

The 54-hole event continues today at Arizona National, with teams teeing off throughout the morning.

"There is still a lot of golf left to be played," Allen said.

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