No. 5 Lobo Women's Golf Looks To Capture Fifth Straight Mountain West Championship
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  04/19/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

April 19, 2004

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No. 5 New Mexico at Mountain West Championships

WHEN: Thursday-Saturday - April 22-24

WHERE:Sunriver Resort - Bend, Ore. - Meadows Course - Par 71 - 5,851 yards

THE FIELD (Rankings - Golf Week): BYU, Colorado State, No. 6 New Mexico, San Diego State, No. 20 UNLV, Wyoming

TOURNAMENT FORMAT: 18 holes will be played each day.


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

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

No. 5 LOBOS LOOK TO CAPTURE FIFTH STRAIGHT MOUNTAIN WEST CHAMPIONSHIP - The fifth-ranked New Mexico women's golf team will look to win its fifth straight Mountain West title April 22-24 (Thursday-Saturday) at the Mountain West Championships held at the Sunriver Resort in Bend, Ore. In fact, the Lobos are the only team since the inception of the Mountain West to win the women's golf championship (beginning in 1999-2000). Individually, two Lobos have claimed medalist honors at the MWC Championships, including senior Katrina Leckovic, who won the tournament last year.


The Lobos have won four consecutive Mountain West Championships, Jackie Booth has been named MWC Coach of the Year three straight years, and Kailin Downs has won MWC Player of the Year honors in consecutive seasons.


The program will also look to pick up more hardware after another outstanding season on the course. Jackie Booth will be looking for her fourth consecutive MWC Coach of the Year honors and Kailin Downs will look to become the first player in the history of the conference to win Player of the Year honors three years in a row. Downs currently leads the MWC with a 73.71 scoring average.

NATIONAL EXPOSURE - The Lobos are ranked No. 5 in the lastest Golf Week/Sagarin rankings, released April 19. UNM has been ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation this season, and has been ranked in the top 10 for 27 consecutive weeks.

Individually, five Lobos are ranked in the top 100 (Kailin Downs - 20th; Ashley Rollins - 31st; Katrina Leckovic - 46th; Shannon Johnson - 70th; Christine Fernandez - 81st).


* New Mexico is ranked fifth in the nation; third in the West Region

*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)

* UNM is 97-15 vs. all-opponents in tournament play

* The Lobos are 37-15 vs. Top 25 opponents; 73-15 vs. Top 50 opponents; and 93-15 vs. Top 100 opponents

* UNM's schedule is ranked the 21st most difficult in the nation

* As of April 16, the Lobos ranked first in the nation in eagles (7) and second in the nation in par-5 scoring (4.95).

DOWNS LEADS LOBOS IN SCORING AVERAGE - Kailin Downs continues to lead the Lobos this season with a 73.71 scoring average, which is also tops in the Mountain West Conference. She set school records for scoring average her freshman (74.9) and sophomore (74.0) 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 20th 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.

LECKOVIC CLOSING OUT CAREER IN STYLE - Senior Katrina Leckovic saved the best for last as she established a new personal best with a 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.

Katrina Leckovic claimed medalist honors at the 2003 MWC Championships.

The Burnaby, British Columbia, native is the reigning Mountain West Champion after claiming medalist honors at the conference championships last spring. Leckovic, who is third on the team with a 74.6 average, is ranked 46th 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 74.2 scoring average, is on pace to establish a new freshman scoring-average record at UNM (currently at 74.9), and is ranked No. 31 in the nation by Golf Week.

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 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. 70 in the nation. The Sioux Falls, S.D., native posted her best career finish this season at the Las Vegas Founders Women's Collegiate Showdown, placing in a tie for third after carding a career-low 216. Johnson has five 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 two 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, shooting a season-low 220. Fernandez is ranked 81st 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 last weekend's 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.