By Katie Miller
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, December 6, 2005
After a dubious start in its first tournament of the season, the Arizona women’s golf team rebounded thanks to a pair of unlikely contributors.
Freshmen Amanda Wilson and Lauren Espinosa both ended in the top 10 at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown from Oct. 31-Nov. 2, as the Wildcats flirted with a second-place finish until the final round.
“The freshmen were able to get a feel for college golf and get their feet wet,” said Arizona head coach Greg Allen. “We were led by two freshmen, and if the seniors do well, I feel we’ll do really good (in the spring).”
The team has more depth than in previous years, with newcomers like Wilson and Espinosa holding their own with seniors Cassandra Kirkland, Lani Elston-Marshall and Whitney Welch, Allen said.
The increased competition among the women in practice should lead to the team having more well-rounded finishes next semester, he said.
2006 women’s golf schedule
Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge
Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.
March 31-April 2
“The seniors want to leave on a positive note, and they don’t want to give up the number 1 and 2 spots to the freshmen,” Allen said.
The Wildcats finished 14th out of 15 teams at the Mason Rudolph Championship from Sept. 23-25 in Nashville, Tenn., as Elston-Marshall (tied for 44th) was Arizona’s top individual finisher despite carding a final-round 83.
“The first tournament of the year we didn’t play well, but it shows that the girls didn’t let it get them down,” Allen said.
At the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational in Seattle on Oct. 10-12, the team was able to shake off some of its early struggles, ending up fifth out of 14 teams.
The team then took seventh at the Stanford-Pepsi Women’s Intercollegiate on Oct. 21-23. Kirkland ended the event tied for 16th place after shooting 3-under par in the final round.
“We got off to a poor start (in the fall), but the thing that I’m happy with is that we got better with every tournament,” Allen said.
The team will spend its short offseason working on swings and strokes in preparation for the Northrop Regional Challenge at Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., on Feb. 13.
Most importantly, the players must spend a lot of time working on their short game, which has been the biggest weakness for the team thus far, Allen said, as well as scoring on par-5 holes.