Ewart leads Lobos to NCAA Championships
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  05/09/2009
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

May 9, 2009

Junior Jodi Ewart shot even-par 72 to finish in third place, leading the 22nd-ranked University of New Mexico women's golf team to a sixth place finish at the NCAA Central Regional in Columbus, Ohio. By placing in the top eight, the Lobos now move on to the NCAA Championships later this month at Owings Mills, Md. Final stats from the Central Regional are available at GolfStat.com.

Ewart was one of only two golfers in the 108-player field to shoot par today on the demanding course. She ended the tournament at 1-under 215, three shots behind UCLA's Maria Jose Uribe for the individual title.

Ewart recorded her seventh top-5 finish in nine tournaments this season, while lowering her school-record season stroke average to 72.19.

"It's like Jodi and the two golfers from UCLA (Uribe and Stephanie Kono) were playing a different course today," said UNM head coach Jill Trujillo of the only three golfers to finish the tournament under par. "Jodi's shot-making was tremendous. She saved a lot of pars. Jodi's performance the past three days should make her a first team All-American."

The elements made for elevated scores for everyone in the final round. After playing the first 36 holes in 21-over, New Mexico shot a 27-over 315 today on the par-72, 6,246-yard Scarlet Course at Ohio State for a final total of 912. Sixth place is UNM's best regional finish since it ended fifth at the East Regional in 2001.

Top-ranked UCLA led wire-to-wire, finishing at 877 and beating second-place Purdue by 19 shots.

"It was unbelievably windy and the hole locations made the course extremely difficult as all of the scores indicated," said Trujillo.

UNM received a huge lift from freshman Rebecca Hellbom, who shot 77 today and ended the tournament in a tie for 12th place at 226 (77-72-77). Hellbom, who had the fourth-lowest total score among the participating freshmen, punctuated her final round with a birdie on the par-4 closing hole.

"Rebecca played very tough this week," said Trujillo. "She held it together down the stretch and was very impressive for a freshman."

Junior Britney Choy (77-79-83) and senior Mikaela Backstedt (76-80-83) finished at 239 while senior Morgan Grantham ended at 243 (85-73-85).

The Lobos will be making their 14th appearance at the NCAA Championships, and the first showing since 2007. The first round begins Tuesday, May 19 at the Caves Valley Golf Club outside Baltimore. UNM's best finish at the Championships is a tie for sixth in 1985.