April 5, 2009
The 28th-ranked University of New Mexico women's golf team's ascent in the national rankings will surely continue after an impressive showing over the weekend at the PING/Arizona State Invitational. UNM shot a 4-over-par 292 in the final round - its low 18 of the tournament - to finish in fifth place on the par-72, 6,230-yard Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Ariz.
What stands out is the Lobos had a higher finish than seven teams positioned higher in the most recent Golfstat.com national rankings, including No. 1 UCLA. UNM was at 893. The Bruins were sixth at 897. UNM also had a better tournament than No. 14 Pepperdine, No. 15 Vanderbilt, No. 17 California, No. 20 Denver, No. 25 Stanford and No. 27 Arizona.
The only schools to finish ahead of UNM were winner and 5th-ranked Oklahoma State, No. 12 Purdue, No. 2 Arizona State and No. 4 Southern California.
New Mexico was again anchored by junior Jodi Ewart, who tied for fourth at 2-under 214 (70-73-71). Ewart made consecutive birdies at 14 and 15 that led to a final round 71 and her sixth top-7 finish in seven tournaments in 2008-09. She lowered her season stroke average to 71.86 in 21 rounds.
Purdue's Maria Hernandez was the individual winner at 5-under 211.
Lobo junior Britney Choy tied for 20th at 225 (76-75-74) for her best finish since an eighth-place tie at the Branch Law Firm Dick McGuire Invitational in Albuquerque last September. Choy shot a 2-over 74 today, including an eagle 3 on No. 14.
Freshman Rebecca Hellbom posted a lower number for the third straight day, shooting 73, which ties for her second-lowest round of the season. Hellbom tied for 27th at 227 (78-76-73).
Senior Morgan Grantham had a solid final round at 2-over 74, but she would probably like to play the 54th hole again. Grantham went to the No. 18 tee 1-under on her round, but closed with a triple-bogey 7. She tied for 39th at 230 (75-81-74).
The Lobos' next competition is April 16-18 at the MWC Championships on California's Monterey Peninsula. The tournament will be played at the Bayonet Blackhorse Golf Club in Seaside, Calif. UNM is the defending team champion while Ewart goes after her third straight individual title.