2008-09 a Stellar Year for Women's Golf
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  06/19/2009
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

June 19, 2009

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The University of New Mexico women's golf team completed an outstanding season with a 19th-place finish at the NCAA Championships May 19-22 in Owings Mills, Md. The Lobos finished the season ranked 22nd in the nation in the final Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index. UNM also won its second straight Mountain West Conference team title.

"All-in-all, we had a pretty darn good year with two team titles, including a conference championship, and a trip to nationals," said UNM second-year head coach Jill Trujillo.

NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS RECAP - The Lobos finished in 19th place at the NCAA Championships played in Owings Mills, Md. It's the Lobos' best finish at nationals since tying for 15th in 2004.

The Lobos shot a 22-over 310 in the final round on the par-72, 6,443-yard Caves Valley Golf Club for a 72-hole total of 1,242 (90-over-par).

Aiming for a top-15 finish, UNM came out of the gates strong, making the turn at 4-over. The back nine, however, was unkind as New Mexico played that in 18-over, including seven lost shots on the final three holes.

"It was a long, tough week," said Trujillo. "It was a great experience and I think the returning players learned a lot."

Arizona State claimed the team title at 1,182, followed by Pac-10 members UCLA (1,190) and defending champion Southern California (1,191).

Purdue's Maria Hernandez claimed the individual title by one shot over USC's Jennifer Song when Song made a double bogey on the 72nd hole. Hernandez finished at 1-over 289.

Junior Britney Choy was UNM's top finisher at 14-over 302 (73-79-72-78), tying for 32nd place. Choy was poised for a top-20 finish, sitting at 1-over on her round through 12 holes. However, she dropped five strokes over the final six holes, including a double-bogey 6 at 18.

Junior Jodi Ewart tied for 39th at 16-over 304 (78-73-78-75). She was even on the front nine, but 3-over on the back. Ewart did break her own school record with a single-season stroke average of 72.68 over 31 rounds.

After playing the first 36 holes in 15-over par, freshman Rebecca Hellbom covered the final two rounds in 9-over to finish tied for 75th at 24-over 312 (79-80-77-76).

In her final collegiate competition, senior Mikaela Backstedt tied for 113th at 37-over 325 (81-82-81-81). Backstedt finished her career with 126 rounds played, tied with Ryley Webb (1998-2001) for second-most in UNM history. Backstedt's career scoring average of 76.33 ranks No. 9 all-time at New Mexico.

Senior Morgan Grantham also closed out her Lobo career by finishing 119th at 43-over 331 (82-83-80-86).

EWART A 1ST TEAM ALL-AMERICAN - Juior Jodi Ewart was named to the Duramed National Golf Coaches Association Division I All-American first team following the NCAA Championships. It is the second time in her career that the North Yorkshire, England native has received all-America honors from the coaches association. Ewart was a second team honoree as a freshman in 2007.

Ewart is the first Lobo to gain first team All-America status since Caroline Keggi in 1987. Keggi, also a two-time All-American for the Lobos, won a 1-hole playoff to win the 1987 NCAA Championships individual title.

"It puts the cherry on top of the sundae for Jodi's season," said head coach Jill Trujillo. "It has been her main goal for the entire year, She is a rare player who sets that type of goal and works her hardest to reach it. Jodi is compared to Caroline (Keggi) a lot and takes that as an extreme compliment."

Ewart enjoyed the best season ever by a Lobo women's golfer in 2008-09. The three-time Mountain West Conference Player of the Year finished the season ranked 9th nationally in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index with a rating of 71.40 and 9th in the Golfstat Cup standings with a 72.68 scoring average. She finished the season with 7 top-5 finishes in 10 tournaments, including 3rd place (1-under 215) at the NCAA Central Regional at Ohio State.

EWART NAMED MWC PLAYER OF THE YEAR - The Mountain West Conference announced its all-conference team and individual awards at the conclusion of its women's golf championship at the Black Horse Golf Course in Seaside, Calif., on Saturday, April 18.

New Mexico junior Jodi Ewart was named the Player of the Year, while San Diego State's Malin Enarsson earned Freshman of the Year honors. Colorado State head coach Angie Hopkins was selected the Coach of the Year.

Ewart finished fourth at the 2009 MWC Championship, helping the Lobos to a second straight conference title. The league's co-Player of the Year in 2007 and `08, Ewart is the first MWC golfer in league history to earn three consecutive Player of the Year honors. Ewart led the MWC regular season with a 71.86 stroke average. The junior finished the 2008-09 season with tournament wins at the Branch Law Firm Dick McGuire Invitational [72-69-72=213 (-6)] and the Arizona Invitational [72-71-70=213 (-3)]. Overall she amassed six top-five finishes on the year.

HEAD COACH Jill Trujillo - A 1990 UNM graduate and women's golf letterwinner from 1987-90, Jill Trujillo has completed two full seasons in charge of the women's golf program. Trujillo has led New Mexico to four team titles, including the 2008 and 2009 Mountain West Conference Championships. She was named the 2007-08 MWC Coach of the Year.

Trujillo was UNM's interim head coach the last time the team advanced to the NCAA Championships in 2007 at Daytona Beach.

2009 NCAA REGIONAL REVIEW - Junior Jodi Ewart shot even-par 72 to finish in third place, leading the Lobos to a sixth place finish at the NCAA Central Regional in Columbus, Ohio. Ewart was one of only two golfers in the 108-player field to shoot par in the final round. She ended the tournament at 1-under 215, three shots behind Maria Jose Uribe from UCLA.

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.

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 on the par-72, 6,246-yard Scarlet Course at Ohio State for a final total of 912.

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

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

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).

LOBOS WIN 2ND STRAIGHT MWC TITLE - On Saturday, April 18, New Mexico won its second straight Mountain West Conference championship, defeating TCU by 14 shots on the par-72, 6,027-yard Black Horse Golf Course in Seaside, Calif. The Lobos shot a final round 305 for a 54-hole total of 903, and were never seriously threatened. UNM has won six MWC titles in 10 years.

"We completed our goals," said Jill Trujillo, who is now 2-for-2 at winning conference titles as head coach of the Lobos. "The course played extremely tough today. I told the team we had to play the final four holes at par or better, and that's what we did. It's a great day for the Lobos."

Junior Jodi Ewart was unable to claim her third consecutive individual title. She shot a 6-over 78 in the final round, her highest score in more than a year. Ewart ended in a tie for fourth at 225 (74-73-78).

Wyoming's Jonelle Martinez held on for medalist honors, defeating UNM junior Britney Choy by two strokes. Martinez finished at 5-over 221. Choy was consistent all weekend. She closed the tournament with a 74 and a total of 223 (74-75-74).

Lobo freshman Rebecca Hellbom was in contention for the lead after a birdie at 7, but played the final 11 holes in seven-over for a final round 79. She finished in sixth place at 227 (81-76-75).

After an opening round 81, senior Mikaela Backstedt got better each day. She shot a 76 Friday then ended with a 75 in the final round, tying for 13th at 232 (81-76-75).

Senior Morgan Grantham shot a 78 for the third straight round. She tied for 19th at 234.

FOUR LOBOS SELECTED TO MWC'S 10TH ANNIVERSARY TEAM - The University of New Mexico has four women's golfers on the Mountain West Conference's 10th anniversary team. Three former Lobos and one current golfer were named to the 10-member group today. UNM had more representation than any other MWC institution. New Mexico has captured five of the first nine conference team titles.

Former Lobos Kailin Downs (2002-05), Katrina Leckovic (2002-04) and Ryley Webb (1998-2001) and current player Jodi Ewart were recognized.

A combined panel of media, institutional and conference personnel, and an online fan poll selected the team. In order to be eligible for consideration, candidates must have been an all-Mountain West selection at least once in their careers.

"This is wonderful recognition for our golf program," said UNM head coach Jill Trujillo. "We have had the good fortune of having some very talented young women come through our program this decade. This elite foursome is very deserving of the honor."

Downs was a four-time all-MWC selection, MWC Freshman of the Year in 2002 and the league's player of the year in 2002 and 2003. She still holds a share of the lowest single-round score at the conference championships, a 5-under 66 set in 2004.

Leckovic was all-MWC from 2002-04 and was the conference medalist at the 2003 championships.

Webb was all-conference in 2000 and 2001. She was named league co-Player of the Year in 2001 when she won the individual championship with a 54-hole record of 209.

Ewart is probably the most accomplished of the Lobos' honorees. Now in her junior year at UNM, Ewart is the only player in conference history to win two individual titles (2007 and 2008). She was named MWC Freshman of the Year and co-Player of the Year in 2007 and co-Player of the Year in 2008.

LOBOS SWEEP McGUIRE - Back and forth they went, but in the end it was New Mexico outlasting Pepperdine to come away with the team title at the 29th Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational at the UNM Championship Course.

Tied at the start of the day, the 19th-ranked Lobos edged No. 8 Pepperdine by four shots with solid play down the stretch. UNM shot a final round 287 - 5-under and its lowest of the three rounds played - and was the only team under par in the 16-team field at 872.

It was a sweep for New Mexico as junior Jodi Ewart took the individual title. Trailing UNLV's Natasha Krishna by one shot with three holes to play, Ewart birdied the par-4 16th while Krishna took a bogey at her next-to-last hole.

Ewart shot a 1-under 72 for a 54-hole total of 6-under 213. Six-under is Ewart's best tournament finish as a Lobo in relation to par. It's also her third individual championship while at UNM, equaling Dana Howe for No. 2 on the school's all-time victory list. Caroline Keggi is the career leader, winning four from 1985-87.

While Ewart was her usual steady self, it was a pair of Swedes that pushed UNM to its seventh McGuire title overall and fourth in the past seven tournaments. The Lobos won three in a row from 2001-03.

Playing in her first collegiate tournament, freshman Rebecca Hellbom fired a 3-under 70 to finish in a tie for 10th at 2-over 221. Hellbom - a native of Vasteras, Sweden, made consecutive birdies at 16 and 17 to provide the Lobos with some breathing room at the top.

Mikaela Backstedt's game did not look good early. A triple-bogey 7 on the par-4 6th placed the Lobo senior at 5-over after the first four holes. However, she played the remaining 14 holes in 5-under to finish the round at even-par 73. Backstedt, a native of Ljunghusen, Sweden, birdied four of the last six holes.

Junior Britney Choy improved each round. After an opening-day 75, Choy shot 73 and a 1-under 72 in the final round to finish in a tie for 8th at 1-over 220.

New Mexico led by three shots midway through the front side. Pepperdine got hot at the turn, though, taking a 1-shot advantage when four golfers combined to make seven birdies over a four-hole stretch. Jessica Wallace led the Waves' charge with birdies at Nos. 9, 11 and 12.

UNM answered as Ewart and Choy each birdied the par-3 12th to regain the lead by a stroke.

The Lobos won both the McGuire team and individual titles for the fourth time. Pat Park and UNM won it all in 1962-63 while Kailin Downs took medalist honors in 2003.