Lobos Host Branch Law Firm / Dick McGuire Invitational
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  09/15/2008
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Sept. 15, 2008

The University of New Mexico opens its 2008-09 women's golf season this week by hosting one of the premier collegiate tournaments in the country, the 29th annual Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational at the UNM Championship Course. The tournament features 16 teams, plus a selection of individuals. Tee times begin at 8 a.m. locally Thursday and Friday with a shotgun start Saturday, also at 8. Live stats of the entire tournament will be available at www.GolfStat.com.


The 16-team field includes the host Lobos, BYU, Campbell, Colorado, Colorado State, Hawai'i, Indiana, New Mexico State, Pepperdine, San Diego State, TCU, Texas, UC-Davis, UNLV, UTEP and Wyoming. Pepperdine, winners of the McGuire in 2005, is the highest ranked team in the field at No. 8 in the Golfweek preseason poll. New Mexico is No. 19, TCU 23rd and UNLV 27th.


Head coach Jill Trujillo will send out Mikaela Backstedt, Britney Choy, Jodi Ewart, Morgan Grantham and Rebecca Hellbom. Erin Miller and Sarah Salvo will play as individuals.

HEAD COACH Jill Trujillo

A 1990 UNM graduate, Jill Trujillo is in her second season in charge of the women's golf program. Trujillo led New Mexico to a pair of team titles in 2007-08, including the 2008 Mountain West Conference Championships. She was named the 2007-08 MWC Coach of the Year.


The 2008 season marks the 29th anniversary of the Dick McGuire Golf Invitational. From its beginning in 1979, the McGuire Invite annually showcases the best that women's college golf has to offer.

The origin of the McGuire dates back much earlier than 1979. From 1956 to 1978 the top women's teams in the nation competed with men's teams at the William H. Tucker Invitational. The combined tournament each fall was the premier college golf event of its time. This event grew in such magnitude for both the men and the women that each side needed its own separate tournament.

So, in 1979 the women's field branched off to the McGuire Invitational, while the men still play the Tucker. Both tournaments remain staples on the respective schedules of all the top college golf programs in the country today.

In the 28 previous tournaments, the team champion from the McGuire has gone on to capture the NCAA Division I Golf Championship seven times. Branch Law Firm in Albuquerque became the title tournament sponsor of the Dick McGuire Invitational in 2003-04.


New Mexico will be shooting for its seventh Dick McGuire championship, and its fourth in the past seventh year. The Lobos became the first school in McGuire history to win three straight titles from 2001-03. Four Lobos have captured the individual title: Pat Park twice in 1962 and `63; Kristi Albers in 1984; Tracy May in 1994; and Kailin Downs in 2003.


It was actually in 2006 due to UNM hosting the NCAA Preview in 2007. New Mexico freshman Jodi Ewart fired a 70 on the final day of the 28th Annual Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational to lead the Lobos to a sixth place finish. Arizona State took home the team title.

Ewart finished in a tie for 9th with a 1-under 218 (74-74-70) in the first tournament of her career. Sophomores Py Bengtsson (74-76-73=223) and Mikaela Backstedt (77-72-76=225) both finished in the top-30. Bengtsson shot an even-par (73) in the final round and tied for 22nd. Backstedt moved into a tie for 28th after shooting a 76. Juniors Alexandra Phelps and Giselle Claux also competed for UNM. Phelps had three rounds of 76 to finish with a total of 228, tied for 39th. Claux rounded out the team scores shooting 74-76-79=229, tying for 44th.

Freshman Britney Choy (73-76-84=233) and sophomore Morgan Grantham (79-78-84=241) competed individually and shot an 84 in the finals. Choy tied for 60th while Grantham finished in 84th place.

The Sun Devils finished 7-under par (869) to win the event. Anna Nordqvist led ASU individually, finishing tied for second (73-73-69=215). Catherine Matranga from TCU was the top individual performer carding a 5-under par 214.

ADDING TO THE CASE? The Lobos are gunning for their 16th team title since 2001.