May 3, 2004
NEXT IN LOBO WOMEN'S GOLF
No. 4 New Mexico at NCAA Central Regional Championships
WHEN: Thursday-Saturday - May 6-8
WHERE:Illinois State University - Normal, Ill. - University Golf Course - Par 71 - 6,500 yards
THE FIELD (National Seeds, followed by Regional Seeds): No. 3 Vanderbilt, No. 4 New Mexico, No. 9 Arizona, No. 10 Southern California, No. 15 Oklahoma, Michigan State, Tulsa, Missouri, TCU, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Kansas State, Indiana, SMU, Kent State, Purdue, Northwestern, Baylor, Notre Dame, Princeton, Illinois State
TOURNAMENT FORMAT: 18 holes will be played each day. Top eight teams advance to NCAA Championships May 18-21.
Full Lobo recap and results of each round at www.GoLobos.com
FOURTH-SEEDED LOBOS LOOKING TO ADVANCE TO NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS - New Mexico enters the 63-team NCAA field as the fourth seed overall - the best seed in school history - and as the second-highest seeded team in the Central Regional. UNM needs to place in the top eight at regionals to advance to the NCAA Championships for the 12th time in school history and for the first time since 2001. This marks the 12th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Regionals for the Lobos; UNM placed 12th in the Central Regional last season.
The Lobos head into regionals after one of the most successful regular seasons in school history. New Mexico claimed four tournament titles and placed in the top 10 in all nine of their tournaments. Katrina Leckovic, Kailin Downs, Shannon Johnson and Ashley Rollins were named to the All-Mountain West Conference team, and Rollins was named the Mountain West Freshman of the Year. Downs earned MWC Golfer of the Month honors twice this season (September and February), and Leckovic captured the award in November.
NATIONAL EXPOSURE - The Lobos are ranked in a tie at No. 5 in the lastest Golf Week/Sagarin rankings. UNM has been ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation this season, and has been ranked in the top 10 for 29 consecutive weeks.
BY THE NUMBERS -
* New Mexico is the No. 4 seed in the 63-team NCAA field; it was ranked second in the West Region and is the second-highest seed in the Central Regional behind No. 3 Vanderbilt
*The Lobos have won four tournament titles this season (Dick McGuire Invitational; Landfall Tradition; Las Vegas Founders Women's Collegiate Showdown; Dr. Thompson Rainbow Invitational)
*Four Lobos earned All-Mountain West honors, the most of any team in the conference
*The Lobos have been ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation (March 8)
* New Mexico is making its 12th straight NCAA Regional appearance
* UNM is 101-16 vs. all-opponents in tournament play
* The Lobos are 37-16 vs. Top 25 opponents; 74-16 vs. Top 50 opponents; and 96-16 vs. Top 100 opponents
* UNM's schedule is ranked the 20th most difficult in the nation
FALL RECAP: LOBOS WIN THREE TOURNAMENTS, TWO GOLFERS EARN PLAYER OF THE MONTH HONORS - The Lobos wrapped up one of their most successful fall seasons in school history with three tournament titles and two individuals taking medalist honors. The Lobos claimed the Dick McGuire Invitational (Sept. 25-27) at their home course in Albuquerque, the Landfall Tradition (Oct. 31-Nov. 2) in Wilmington, N.C., and the Las Vegas Vegas Founders Women's Collegiate Showdown (Nov. 10-12) in Henderson, Nev. UNM repeated as champions of the Vegas Showdown and won its third consecutive McGuire Invitational. The Lobos finished sixth in the Golf Week fall rankings.
Individually, junior Kailin Downs tied the 54-hole record at the McGuire Invitational with a score of 70-68-74-212 (-7) en route to claiming her first career individual championship. Senior Katrina Leckovic took home her second career title with a two-stroke win at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown.
The Lobos also had strong showings at their other two tournaments. New Mexico opened the season at the NCAA Preview (Sept. 12-14) in Opelika, Ala., site of the 2004 NCAA Women's Golf Championships. The tournament gave the Lobos a chance to play the difficult course with some of the nation's top teams, as 17 of the 18 teams were ranked in the preseason Top 25. The Lobos finished strong in the last round of the tournament to finish ninth overall. UNM placed fifth at the Stanford Intercollegiate Oct. 17-19.
SPRING RECAP: FOUR LOBOS EARN ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST HONORS, LOBOS RANKED AS HIGH AS NO. 3 - New Mexico picked up right where it left off in the fall in its four spring tournaments. The Lobos began the spring by placing second in the highly loaded Regional Challenge field, finishing ahead of five top-10 teams. After their impressive performance at the Regional Challenge, the Lobos vaulted to No. 3 in the national rankings. UNM responded to the ranking with a convincing 29-stroke win at the Dr. Thompson Rainbow Invitational in Hawai'i. The Lobos placed third at the Ping/Arizona State Invitational in their next tournament.
Although the Lobos came up short in their quest for a fifth straight Mountain West title, they did place second in the MWC Championships after shooting a season best 858 overall and 277 in the final round. UNM was a rewarded with a No. 4 seed in the 63-team NCAA field, the highest seed in school history.
Four Lobos were rewarded for their efforts and earned All-Mountain West honors. Kailin Downs and Katrina Leckovic each made the team for the third straight year, while Shannon Johnson garnered all-conference honors for the second year in a row. Ashley Rollins was named the Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year in addition to earning All-MWC accolades.
PLAYER NOTES -
DOWNS LEADS LOBOS IN SCORING AVERAGE - Junior Kailin Downs continues to lead the Lobos this season with a 73.63 scoring average. She set school records for scoring average her freshman (74.9) and sophomore (74.1) years. The junior record is 74.6.
Downs was named the MWC Women's Golfer of the Month in September after winning her first career tournament at the Dick McGuire Invitational and Co-MWC Golfer of the Month in February after placing fourth at the Northrup Grumman Regional Challenge. She has won the award five times in her career. Downs was the only player in the conference to earn Golfer of the Month honors twice in 2002-03 (September and April). As a freshman, Downs garnered Golfer of the Month honors in October of 2001.
Downs is ranked No. 28 in the nation by Golf Week. In addition to her win at the McGuire, Downs placed in a tie for second at the Landfall Tradition and Dr. Thompson Rainbow Invitational. Overall, she has placed in the top-five on 12 occasions during her career. The two-time Mountain West Player of the Year was named one of the Top 10 players in the nation to watch (No. 7) by Golf Digest and a preseason All-American by Golf Week. Downs was named to the All-Mountain West team for her third straight year. She was recently named to Team USA for the U.S. vs. Japan Collegiate Golf Championship held this summer in Chiba, Japan.
LECKOVIC A THREE-TIME ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST HONOREE - Senior Katrina Leckovic earned All-Mountain West accolades for the third consecutive season after placing in a tie for second at the Mountain West Championships with a career-tying score of 213. Leckovic claimed medalist honors at the 2003 MWC Championships and also earned all-conference honors in 2002.
Leckovic tied her personal-best score of 213 at the Las Vegas Founders Collegiate Showdown (Nov. 10-12), which was good for first place and her second career tournament championship. For her efforts, she was named the MWC Golfer of the Month for November. Leckovic has three other top-10 finishes this season, placing ninth at both the McGuire Invitational and Stanford Intercollegiate, and placing 10th at the Dr. Thompson Rainbow Invitational.
The Burnaby, British Columbia, native, who is third on the team with a 74.22 scoring average, is ranked No. 44 by Golf Week. Earlier this year, Leckovic was one of eight players selected to the Canadian Ladies' Golf Association National Amateur Team.
ASHLEY'S ROLLIN' - Heralded freshman Ashley Rollins, who made the cut at the 2003 U.S. Women's Amateur and won all four of her matches at the AJGA Canor Cup, has lived up to the hype in her first season as a Lobo. Rollins, who boasts a 74.15 scoring average, is on pace to establish a new freshman scoring-average record at UNM (currently at 74.9), and is ranked No. 42 in the nation by Golf Week. She was named the Mountain West Freshman of the Year and also earned All-MWC honors.
One of the top recruits in Coach Booth's tenure, Rollins tied for 15th in her first tournament at NCAA Preview and followed that effort with a seventh-place finish at the Dick McGuire Invitational. She had another top-10 showing at the Landfall Tradition, where she placed in a tie for eighth. In the second tournament of the spring season, Rollins delivered a season-best sixth place showing at the Dr. Thompson Rainbow Invitational. In her last regular season outing, she had a season-best score of 2-over 218 at the Ping/Arizona State Invitational to tie for ninth, earning freshman low score honors. Rollins also fired a hole-in-one in the fall on the par-3 17th hole at the Stanford Intercollegiate.
WHAT'S IN A NAME? - Junior Shannon Johnson may have a common last name, but is no ordinary collegiate golfer. Johnson, who has been ranked in the top 100 all season, is currently ranked No. 67 in the nation. The Sioux Falls, S.D., native posted her best career finish this season at the Mountain West Championships, placing in a tie for second after carding a career-low 213. For her efforts, she was named to the All-Mountain West team for the second consecutive season. Johnson has six top-20 finishes this season.
SEEKING GREENER PASTURES IN NEW MEXICO - Sophomore transfer Christine Fernandez, who attended the University of Tulsa in 2002-03, has been a welcome addition to this year's 2003-04 Lobo squad. Fernandez has finished in the top 10 in three tournaments this season, including a career-best tie for second at the Dr. Thompson Invitational in Hawai'i, where she shot a season-low round of 68 in the second round. She also placed in the top 10 at the Las Vegas Founders Women's Collegiate Showdown and shot a season-low 219 to tie for ninth at the Mountain West Championships. Fernandez is ranked No. 93 in the nation by Golf Week.
NEWMAN ALSO SHINING IN THE CLASSROOM - Senior Kellyn Newman, who competed as an individual in three tournaments this season, is also an excellent student in the classroom. Newman was named a 2003 NGCA Scholar-Athlete last season, and this year was featured as a "Champion in the Classroom" in the KKOB-770 AM academic series that aired during the school year.
SPENCE IMPROVING EACH YEAR - Junior Christina Spence, who garnered All-MWC accolades in 2002-03, has improved her scoring average each season at UNM. Spence, who shot for a 77.0 average her freshman year and 76.1 last year, is currently at 76.0 this season. She earned her first start of the season at the Ping/Arizona State Invitational, placing in a tie for 44th. Spence shot a career-best 221 at last fall's Dick McGuire Invitational to tie for eighth place as an individual.
NEW ADDITION - Freshman Giselle Claux, a native of Lima, Peru, joined the Lobos for the spring season after sitting out fall competition. A talented golfer with international experience, Claux competed for the Peruvian National Team in several Junior South American tournaments. She placed fourth at the 2003 Junior South American tournament in Montevideo, Uruguay.
LAST TIME OUT:
No. 5 LOBOS POST SEASON-BEST SCORE, BUT STILL COME UP SHORT IN QUEST FOR FIFTH STRAIGHT MOUNTAIN WEST TITLE (April 22-24) - The No. 5 New Mexico women's golf team came up short in its quest for a fifth consecutive Mountain West title as No. 20 UNLV became the first team in the history of the conference other than the Lobos to win the championship. The Rebels dethroned UNM, who had won the previous four Mountain West Championships, with a 4-over 856 (289-291-276), two strokes better than New Mexico's score of 291-290-277-858 (+6). The Lobos still posted a season-best score of 858 for the tournament and season-best round of 277 on the final day.
The race for the championship came down to the wire as the Lobos and UNLV were tied at 4-over after 15 holes. New Mexico, which began the day one stroke back, took a brief two-stroke lead mid-way through the round before UNLV tied it back up after the turn. The Lobos lost two strokes during the last three holes, however, as UNLV stayed on par to win the title.
UNLV's Sunny Oh claimed medalist honors with a 2-under 211 (73-70-68), two strokes better than Shannon Johnson and Katrina Leckovic, who each placed in second with an even-par 213. Johnson shot a 71 in every round to place second, which marks her highest career finish. Leckovic, last year's MWC Champion, also shot even-par on Saturday.
Kailin Downs jumped up 10 spots to place in a tie for ninth tying a course record with a 5-under 66 on Saturday. Downs and UNLV's Seema Sadekar each shot a 66 in the final round, besting the previous score - held by Katrina Leckovic - by one stroke. Overall, Downs was 6-over at 219 (78-75-66).
Christine Fernandez also turned in a nice final round, shooting a 2-under 69 to place in a tie for ninth overall with a score of 75-75-69-219 (+6). Ashley Rollins placed in a tie for 15th in her first Mountain West Championship, carding a 9-over 222 (75-72-75).