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Fall Recap: Women's Golf Wins Three Tournament Titles In Fall Season
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  11/25/2003
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Nov. 25, 2003

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The sixth-ranked New Mexico women's golf team wrapped up one of its 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.

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.

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.

New Mexico begins its spring season Feb. 9-11 at the Regional Challenge in Palos Verdes, Calif., at the Palos Verdes Country Club. After the Regional Challenge, UNM plays at the Hawai'i Invitational March 16-17 in Oahu and the Ping/Arizona State Invitational April 2-4 in Tempe, Ariz. The Lobos will then be looking to capture their fifth straight Mountain West title April 22-24 at the Sunriver Resort in Bend, Ore. The NCAA Regional Championships begin May 6-8.

NATIONAL EXPOSURE - The Lobos finished the fall season ranked No. 6 in the nation, according to the latest Golf Week/Sagarin ratings released Nov. 17. Individually, four Lobos were ranked in the top 50 (Kailin Downs - 32nd; Katrina Leckovic - 36th; Ashley Rollins - 41st; Shannon Johnson - 44th). Christine Fernandez was also ranked at 106th.

BY THE NUMBERS -

* New Mexico is ranked fourth in the West Region

* UNM is 63-12 vs. all-opponents in tournament play

* The Lobos are 23-12 vs. Top 25 opponents; 41-12 vs. Top 50 opponents; and 61-12 vs. Top 100 opponents

* UNM's schedule is ranked the 22nd most difficult in the nation

* The Lobos rank third in the nation in greens in regulation (.680) and total short game (.544)

* Kailin Downs is tied for second in the nation in greens in regulation (.787)

DOWNS NAMED MWC GOLFER OF THE MONTH FOR SEPTEMBER - Kailin Downs was named the MWC Women's Golfer of the Month for September after winning her first career tournament at the Dick McGuire Invitational. This marks the fourth time she has won the award. 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 32nd in the nation in the latest Golf Week ratings. In addition to her win at the McGuire, Downs placed in a tie for second at the Landfall Tradition, which marked her 10th career top-five finish. 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. She is currently second in the nation in greens in regulation with a .787 rating.

LECKOVIC WINS SECOND TOURNAMENT TITLE - 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, which was good for first place and her second career tournament championship. Leckovic also had two top-10 finishes earlier in the season at the McGuire Invitational and the Stanford Intercollegiate, where she finished in a tie for ninth at both tournaments. The Burnaby, British Columbia, native is the reigning Mountain West Champion after claiming medalist honors at the conference championships last spring.

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, lived up to the hype in her first five tournaments as a Lobo. Rollins led the Mountain West with a 73.2 stroke average in September and is ranked the No. 41 player 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. Rollins also fired a hole-in-one on the par-3 17th hole at the Stanford Intercollegiate.

No. 6 UNM REPEATS TITLE WITH 18-STROKE WIN AT LAS VEGAS FOUNDERS COLLEGIATE SHOWDOWN (Nov. 10-12) - Proving to be one of the elite teams in the country, the sixth-ranked New Mexico women's golf team claimed its third tournament title of the fall season by winning the Las Vegas Founders Collegiate Showdown by 18 strokes on Nov. 12 at the Anthem Country Club in Henderson, Nev. The Lobos shot a 5-over 869 (288-288-293) in the three-day tournament. Katrina Leckovic took home medalist honors for UNM with a 3-under 213 (69-72-72) for the tournament, marking her second career individual championship. The Lobos also won the Vegas Showdown in 2002 while claiming medalist honors.

Shannon Johnson equaled her best round of the season with a 2-under 70, jumping five spots to tie for third in the tournament (72-74-70-216). The third place finish for Johnson is the highest of her career.

Johnson wasn't the only Lobo to record a season-high finish, as Christine Fernandez tied for eighth with a 4-over 220 (74-70-76). Fernandez's previous best finish of the fall was 15th at the Landfall Tradition.

Ashley Rollins, who led the Mountain West in scoring average heading into the tournament, placed 12th with a 5-over 221 (73-73-75). Rollins wrapped up a very successful fall, placing in the top 15 for the fourth time in five tournaments.

Kailin Downs finished 28th for the Lobos with a 12-over 228 (78-73-77).

Three Lobos competed as individuals in the tournament: Christina Spence (T52nd, 74-85-77-236); Kellyn Newman (T71st, 83-79-83-245); and Kelli Van Winkle (T80th, 86-82-86-254).

UNM WINS SECOND TOURNAMENT WITH WIN AT LANDFALL TRADITION (Oct. 31 - Nov. 2) - The fifth-ranked New Mexico women's golf team claimed its second tournament title of the fall season with a four-stroke win over No. 18 Tulane at the Landfall Tradition Collegiate Nov. 2 at the par-72, 6,043-yard Jack Nicklaus Course. UNM's earlier win came at its own tournament - the Dick McGuire Invitational - held in late September at the UNM Championship Course.

The Lobos shot a 291-304-296-891 (+27) to take first place, followed by Tulane (304-295-301-895) and 17th-ranked Tulsa (304-295-301-900).

Individually, Kailin Downs led UNM with her 10th career top-five finish. She tied for second place with a one-over 217 (69-75-73), only one stroke behind Arkansas' Amanda McCurdy, who earned medalist honors with a 216 (72-69-75).

Ashley Rollins shot the best round for the Lobos on the final day with an even-par 72. She finished in a tie for eighth place with a score of 74-77-72-223 (+7).

Christine Fernandez placed in a tie for 15th with a 73-77-76-226 (+10), the highest finish for her in four tournaments as a Lobo. Shannon Johnson shot a 75-77-75-227 (+11) to tie for 19th, while Katrina Leckovic carded a 78-75-77-230 (+14) to tie for 26th.

LOBOS TAKE FIFTH AT STANFORD INTERCOLLEGIATE (Oct. 17-19) - The fourth-ranked New Mexico women's golf team placed fifth at the prestigious Stanford/Pepsi Intercollegiate Oct. 19, in which nine of the 18 teams were ranked in the top 25, including six in the top 10. The Lobos finished with a three-round total of 290-292-293--875 (+11). Top-ranked Duke set a tournament record with an 845 (-19) to capture the team championship. Arizona's Erica Blasberg and Duke's Elizabeth Janangelo shared medalist honors with a seven-under 209.

Katrina Leckovic was UNM's highest finisher as she shot a two-under 214 (72-71-71) to place in a tie for ninth. Shannon Johnson matched her personal-best round of the fall as she carded a 70 in the final round to finished tied for 20th (70-78-70-218). Kailin Downs, the MWC Golfer of the Month for September, placed in a tie for 27th with a score of 73-72-75--220 (+4).

Ashley Rollins, who shot a hole-in-one in the second round, finished with an 11-over 227 (75-74-78) to place in a tie for 51st. Christine Fernandez tied for 57th with a 77-75-77--229 (+13).

LOBOS PRODUCE RECORD-SETTING PERFORMANCE IN CLAIMING THIRD STRAIGHT McGUIRE INVITATIONAL (Sept. 25-27) - The New Mexico women's golf team became the first school to claim three straight Dick McGuire Invitational titles after shooting a course-record five-under 295-281-295-871 for the three-day tournament, which took place Sept. 25-27 at the UNM Championship Golf Course. Kailin Downs tied the 54-hole record with a score of 70-68-74-212 (-7) en route to claiming her first career individual championship.

UNM, which led the entire tournament, bested second-place Oklahoma State by 16 strokes (300-285-302-887) to win its fourth Dick McGuire Invitational in school history. Tulsa took third with a score of 310-288-304-902. The Lobos also set UNM Championship Course team records for 36 holes (576) and 18 holes (281).

Downs was tied with Karin Sjodin of Oklahoma State after 15 holes, but Downs birded the par-4 16th hole to take the lead. Downs scored a par on the final two remaining holes while Sjodin collected a double-bogey on the par-5 18th to end her title chances.

All five Lobo starters finished in the top 20. Shannon Johnson shot a two-under 71 in the final round, the best score of the day, to place a career-high fifth for the invitational (75-72-71-218). Ashley Rollins placed seventh with a score of 74-73-73-220 (+1) and senior Katrina Leckovic tied for ninth with a score of 76-69-77-222 (+3). Sophomore Christine Fernandez (Henderson, Nev.) tied for 20th place (77-72-77-226).

Christina Spence, who competed as an individual, took eighth place with a 74-74-73-221 (+2). Two other Lobos competed as individuals: Kellyn Newman (T57th, 80-78-81-239) and Kelli Van Winkle (T85th, 87-71-92-250).

NCAA PREVIEW REWIND (Sept. 12-14) - The New Mexico women's golf team jumped five spots in the final round to finish ninth at the prestigious NCAA Preview Tournament Sept. 14 at the Grand National Course in Opelika, Ala. The Lobos shot a 290 in the last round - the third-best round of the day - to finish with a three-round total of 310-305-29--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.

No. 1 Duke claimed the tournament championship with a playoff-hole victory over host and ninth-ranked Auburn. Both schools finished with three-round scores of 870 (+6). Carolina Liano of Pepperdine claimed medalist honors with a total of 70-75-66=211 (-5).

Talented freshman Ashley Rollins, who made the cut at this summer's U.S. Women's Amateur, lived up to the hype in her first tournament as a Lobo with a 15th-place finish (74-75-70--219). Rollins carded a team-best 70 (-2) on Sunday to finish +3 for the tournament.

Kailin Downs, who struggled in the first round with an 83, finished strong with a final round of 73 (+1). Downs completed the tournament tied for 48th (83-75-73 --231). Christine Fernandez, also competing in her first tournament as a Lobo after transferring from Tulsa, shot even-par in the last round after two rounds of 80. Fernandez finished tied for 53rd (80-80-72--232).

Katrina Leckovic was UNM's second-highest finisher after placing 45th. Leckovic shot her best round of the tournament in the final round (75) to finish at +14 (76-70-75--230). Junior Shannon Johnson (Sioux Falls, S.D.) placed 56th with a score of 80-76-77--233 (+17).

NOTEWORTHY - LOBO QUICK NOTES

Junior Kailin Downs (Bend, Ore.)

* Ranked 32nd by Golf Week

*Leads team with a 73.87 average

* Tied for second in the nation in greens in regulation (.787)

* Tied for second with a 1-over 217 at the Landfall Tradition

* Named MWC Golfer of the Month for September (Fourth time in her career)

* Claimed first career tournament championship with win at McGuire Invitational

* Tied 54-hole record at UNM Championship Course with a seven-under 212 at McGuire Invitational

* Set 36-hole record at UNM Championship Course with a score of 70-68--168 at McGuire Invitational

* Shot a personal best 68 in the second round of the McGuire Invitational

* 10 career top-five finishes

* Golf Week Preseason All-American

* Ranked one of the top 10 women's golfers in the nation (No. 7) to watch according to Golf World

* First golfer to be named MWC Golfer of the Year in consecutive years (2001,'02)

* First golfer in MWC history to earn Golfer of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors in same season (2001)

* Ranked No. 1 sophomore in the nation (2002-03) according to Golf Stat.

* Established new best stroke averages at UNM as a freshman (74.9) and sophomore (74.0)

Christine Fernandez (So., Henderson, Nev.)

* Season-high eighth-place finish with a 4-over 220 at the Las Vegas Showdown

* Tied for 15th place at the Landfall Tradition

* Tied for 20th place at the Dick McGuire Invitational

* 2002-03 WAC Freshman of the Year at Tulsa

* Ranked 106th by Golf Week

Shannon Johnson (Jr., Sioux Falls, S.D.)

* Ranked 44th by Golf Week

*Carded a personal-best 216 to tie for third, a career best, at Las Vegas Showdown

* Fired a 218 at McGuire Invitational to place fifth

* Shot a season-best round of 70 in the final round of the Stanford Intercollegiate to finish tied for 20th

Katrina Leckovic (Sr., Burnaby, British Columbia)

* Ranked 36th by Golf Week

* Won her second career tournament title with a 3-under 213 at the Las Vegas Showdown. The 54-hole total of 213 also established a personal-best score for Leckovic.

* Tied for ninth at the Dick McGuire Invitational

* Shot a two-under 214 to tie for ninth at the Stanford Intercollegiate

* Medalist honors at the 2003 MWC Championships

Kellyn Newman (Sr., Mesa, Ariz.)

* Competed as an individual at the Dick McGuire Invitational and Las Vegas Founders Collegiate Showdown

Ashley Rollins (Fr., Austin, Texas)

* Ranked 41st by Golf Week

* Placed 12th at the Las Vegas Founders Collegiate Showdown

* Tied for eighth at the Landfall Tradition

* Seventh-place finish at Dick McGuire Invitational

* Tied for 15th at NCAA Preview, the best finish for a Lobo at the tournament

* Shot a hole-in-one on the par-3 17th hole at the Stanford Intercollegiate

* Made the cut at the 2003 U.S. Women's Amateur

* Won all four matches at the UJGA Canor Cup

* Named of the top 10 players of the year in 2002 by Golf Digest

Christina Spence (Jr., Port Alberni, British Columbia)

* Placed eighth at the Dick McGuire Invitational as an individual

* Tied for 52nd as an individual at the Las Vegas Founders Collegiate Showdown

Kelli Van Winkle (So., Roswell, N.M.)

* Competed as an individual at the Dick McGuire Invitational and Las Vegas Founders Collegiate Showdown

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