Arizona hosts invitational

By Curtis Acosta

Arizona Daily Wildcat

While UA coach Rick LaRose is working on his tan with the men's team in Hawaii, assistant coaches Tom Brill and Amy Solfisburg are holding down the fort at the women's Arizona Invitational Tournament this week at Randolph Golf Course.

This year's Arizona Invitational resembles the NCAA golf tournament, with 11 of the top 20 teams in the nation invading Tucson.

With teams such as No. 1 Arizona State and third-ranked Stanford part of the deep field, the Wildcats will need to take the advise of the cowardly lion, and find some courage.

Brill sees confidence playing a major role for the Wildcats to have a successful tournament.

"It's just a fantastic field. It'll give us a chance to see how we match up," Brill said. "We'll get a true champion out of this tournament."

The Wildcats will be led by Brenna Cepelak and Heather Graff, the top finishers in the UA's fifth-place finish in Los Angeles two weeks ago.

Cepelak had a career-best sixth-place finish at the UCLA Pioneer Classic, and will play in the No. 1 spot for the UA.

Last fall's best player, Heather Graff, had a disappointing first tournament of the spring. Brill said he doesn't expect her 18th-place finish to be a trend for the young star.

"She's back in it now. We need her to play well," Brill said. "She'll be all right."

Playing at home should be an advantage for the Wildcats. In fact, the women's team picked up some pointers from their male counterparts this week at practice. The men just completed their tournament at Randolph a few weeks ago, so that experience could give the ladies an even greater edge.

"Being at home is a big advantage," Brill said. "The guys helped out as far as course management ... They (the men's team) make the girls play more aggressively."

With only one regular season tournament scheduled in Tucson this year, the Wildcats need to make the most of it. With the competition being tough at this year's tournament, Brill is optimistic about the Wildcats' chances, as well as realistic.

"I want every girl to shoot 76 as their highest score," Brill said. "They're practicing hard, and I think they're ready."

Regardless of their performance this week, the women's team should gain some great experience for their postseason aspirations. With the NCAA Western Regional tournament being held in Tucson this year Arizona could use this tournament as a dress rehearsal.

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