Lobos Head To NCAA Championships
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  05/17/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

May 17, 2004

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NCAA Championships

WHEN: Tuesday-Friday - May 18-21

WHERE: Auburn University - Auburn, Alabama

COURSE:The Lake Course at Grand National - Par 72 - 6,215 yards

THE FIELD (24 teams):

EAST REGION QUALIFIERS: Duke, UNLV, North Carolina, Florida State, Wake Forest, Furman, Tennessee, Oklahoma State

CENTRAL REGION QUALIFIERS: Vanderbilt, Arizona, Michigan State, USC, Baylor, Purdue, New Mexico, Texas A&M

WEST REGION QUALIFIERS: UCLA, California, Stanford, Washington, Georgia, Ohio State, Arizona State, Texas

TOURNAMENT FORMAT: 18 holes will be played each day. All participants will compete throughout the entire 72 holes of competition.


* Live stats of the tournament at www.GolfStat.com

* Full Lobo recap and results of each round at www.GoLobos.com

* There will be 30-minute highlight show from 9-9:30 p.m. EST via satellite on Thursday and Friday. The coordinates for both days are: KU Band AMC09, Transponder 15 downlink freq. 12000 MHz (V)

LOBOS ADVANCE TO NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS FOR 12TH TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY - The New Mexico women's golf team, seeded fourth nationally, placed seventh at the Central Regional Championships (May 6-8) to qualify for the NCAA Championships for the 12th time in school history. The Lobos have placed in the top 10 at the NCAA's on five occasions, including sixth in 1985, but are still looking for their first top-five finish. This season has provided all indications that the Lobos could break new ground at the nation's elite tournament.

The Lobos have won four tournament titles this season.

New Mexico claimed four tournament titles this season and has placed in the top 10 in all 10 of its tournaments. The Lobos have been ranked as high as No. 3 nationally, and have been rated in the top 10 for 31 consecutive weeks by Golf Week.

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.

Unlike the Central Regional's University Course, UNM is familiar with the Lake Course at Grand National, placing ninth at the NCAA Preview Tournament in September. The Lobos shot a 290 in the last round of the tournament - the third-best round of the day - to finish with a three-round total of 310-305-290--905 (+41). UNM dramatically improved its scores each day to finish in the top-10 of the elite 18-team tournament, in which 17 of the 18 teams were ranked in the Golf Digest Preseason Top 25.

After tuning up at NCAA Preview, the Lobos went into high gear for the rest of the season. In the fall, they went on to win the Dick McGuire Invitational, the Landfall Tradition and the Las Vegas Founders Women's Collegiate Showdown, and claimed the Dr. Thompson Rainbow Invitational in the spring. UNM was edged by UNLV by two strokes at the Mountain West Championships, but still garnered the highest seed in school history for the NCAA Championship field.

NATIONAL EXPOSURE - The Lobos are ranked No. 6 in the lastest Golf Week/Sagarin rankings released May 9. UNM has been ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation this season, and has been ranked in the top 10 for 31 consecutive weeks.

Individually, all five Lobo starters are ranked in the top 100 (Kailin Downs - 29th; Ashley Rollins - 42nd; Katrina Leckovic - 49th; Shannon Johnson - 74th; Christine Fernandez - 99th).


-- New Mexico entered the 63-team NCAA field as the No. 4 seed

-- 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)

-- The Lobos have been ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation (March 8)

-- Four Lobos earned All-Mountain West honors, the most of any team in the conference

-- New Mexico has made 12 straight postseason appearances

-- UNM is 115-22 vs. all-opponents in tournament play

-- The Lobos are 39-20 vs. Top 25 opponents; 85-22 vs. Top 50 opponents; and 110-22 vs. Top 100 opponents

-- UNM's schedule is ranked the 20th most difficult in the nation


-- Number of appearances: 12 (1982, '83, '84, '85, '87, '88, '93, '95, '96, '98, 2001, 2004)

-- Top finish: 6th (1985)

-- Top-10 finishes: Five (1982 - 8th; 1984 - 8th; 1985 - 6th; 1987 - 7th; 1998 - T8th)

-- Lowest score: 1199 (1998)

-- Top individual finish: Caroline Keggi, 1st, 1987

LAST TIME OUT (May 6-8): LOBOS QUALIFY FOR NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS WITH SEVENTH-PLACE FINISH AT NCAA CENTRAL REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS - The fourth-seeded New Mexico women's golf team qualified for the NCAA Championships for the 12th time in school history with a seventh-place showing at the NCAA Central Regional Championships, held at Illinois State's University Golf Course. The top eight teams from each of the three regionals all advance to the NCAA Championships held May 18-21 in Auburn, Ala.

Ashley Rollins

The Lobos shot 298-320-300--918 (+66) for the tournament. Third-seeded Vanderbilt took first place with a 298-307-288--893 (+41), followed by ninth-seeded Arizona at 299-313-290--902 (+50). In addition to the Commodores and Wildcats, Michigan State, Southern California, Baylor, Purdue and Texas A&M also qualified for the NCAA Championships.

Individually for the Lobos, Kailin Downs and Ashley Rollins each tied for 17th with a 16-over 229. Downs (73-81-75) carded a 4-over 75 in the last round, while Rollins (73-82-74) shot a 3-over 74.

Katrina Leckovic carded her best round of the tournament on May 8, shooting a 4-over 75. Overall, Leckovic placed in a tie for 27th with a score of 76-80-75--231 (+18). Christine Fernandez shot a 76-80-78--234 (+21) to tie for 40th. Shannon Johnson improved each day in the tournament, and finished with an 81-79-76--236 (+23).

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.

Katrina Leckovic

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.


DOWNS LEADS LOBOS IN SCORING AVERAGE - Junior Kailin Downs continues to lead the Lobos this season with a 73.90 scoring average. She set school records for scoring average her freshman (74.9) and sophomore (74.1) years. The junior record is 74.6.

Kailin Downs

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. 29 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 74.47 scoring average, is ranked No. 49 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 74.37 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.

Shannon Johnson

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. 74 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. 99 in the nation by Golf Week.

Christine Fernandez

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.