Junior golfer Cassandra Kirkland carded her first top-5 finish of the season with a runner-up performance at this weekend's Stanford Pepsi Intercollegiate. The native of France carded a second-round 67, her lowest tournament score at the University of Arizona and the lowest score shot by a Wildcat since Lorena Ochoa fired a 66 in 2002. This was Kirkland's second runner-up finish of her career and her third top-5. The Wildcat sat down to talk to Kirkland about the loss of Erica Blasberg, her favorite thing about Paris and which teammate would most likely streak down the mall.
Wildcat: How have things been different this year than compared to your first two years?
Kirkland: Oh my gosh, I think it was a lot different than my first semester because my first semester was pretty tough. I was not playing well at all and had just come off three months of not playing so I could get my degree.
Wildcat: What has the loss of Erica Blasberg done to the team?
Kirkland: Of course it's a pretty big loss because she was always pretty consistent and playing really well all the time, but I think if I can manage to score like I did this weekend and Lani Elston get her back better, we could play well as a team.
Kirkland: In five years, where will you be?
Kirkland: Hopefully on the LPGA tour.
Wildcat: And how many wins will you have by then?
Kirkland: I don't know, hopefully, two.
Wildcat: How are golf courses different in France than in the United States?
Kirkland: The greens are different and here the fairways are larger and the courses are longer.
Wildcat: What would you do on a typical Friday night in France?
Kirkland: I would go hang out with my friends, but before it got dark I would practice because I had classes from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. six days a week and so I had to practice until 11 at night.
Wildcat: What is your favorite thing about Paris?
Kirkland: Just the tradition and how small it is, because in America, everything is really big.
Wildcat: What is the lowest score you have ever shot?
Kirkland: I shot 5-under on the first nine holes and even on the second nine holes, so it was 5-under.
Wildcat: What has been your best collegiate moment on the course?
Kirkland: I think it was the Preview (in 2003). It is one of the biggest tournaments and I almost won it. I was playing really solid and me and Erica both tied for third.
Wildcat: You come off as a confident golfer. What makes you so confident?
Kirkland: I just believe in myself and I know I have the skills and practice enough to play well.
Wildcat: If you played (Arizona men's golfer) Henry Liaw heads up, how many shots would he have to give you?
Kirkland: (laughter) None, I'd have to give him a couple of shots.
Wildcat: Come May, if Arizona and Duke were tied going into the last round of the NCAA Championship, what would be the best weather for you?
Kirkland: I would like windy conditions. I like wind.
Wildcat: Who would you want to play against on the Duke team?
Kirkland: Probably Niloufar (Aazam-Zanganeh) because I grew up with her in Europe and enjoyed playing with her.
Wildcat: What will happen first – our basketball team wins the national championship or the football team makes a bowl game?
Kirkland: (laughter) Probably the basketball.
Wildcat: You got second place this week and that's a good finish, but were you disappointed you didn't win?
Kirkland: I was really disappointed. I was not very happy because it was a good week for me and I messed up at the end and I think second place is the worst place to be if it's your week.
Wildcat: If one player was to go streaking down the mall, who would it be?
Kirkland: Whitney (Welch) because she's not shy at all.
Wildcat: Ok, this or that.
Wildcat: French fries or French toast?
Kirkland: Neither one.
Wildcat: Stay out until 4 a.m. or go to bed before midnight?
Kirkland: If I'm in France, 4 a.m. but if it during season, before midnight.
Wildcat: Yankees or the Red Sox?
Wildcat: France or the United States?
Kirkland: France, big time.