Stevens, De Roey Nearing Mountain West Title Chase
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  04/10/2014

New Mexico Lobos Women’s Golf

Up Next: Silverado Showdown -- April 14-15 -- Napa, Calif.

 By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

 Samantha Martin – welcome to the Mountain West title chase.

We think.

It’s not that Martin of Boise State is not capable of making a charge to the 2014 Mountain West Women’s individual title. It’s just that golf is a funny game that doesn’t always favor the prepared. 

Often it favors the hot putter.  We will see who carries that red-hot tool at the final MW chase April 24-26 in Rancho Mirage (near Palm Springs),  Calif.

Martin’s win at the Wyoming Cowgirl Classic April 7-8 throws her name into the hat with a number of talented MW golfers also expected to make a charge at the 2014 title: New Mexico’s Sammi Stevens and Manon De Roey; UNLV’s Dana Finkelstein; San Diego State’s Emma Henrikson and teammate Sirene Blair.

You give this six-pack of talented MW golfers the early nod simply because that’s the group that has formed the Mountain West Golfer of the Week/Month list for the 2013-14 season and you toss in De Roey as the defending MW champion. De Roey knows how to win it.

The Mountain’s award list is a good place to look for contenders for the 2014 crown. To make that list, it means you either won a tournament or were the top finisher that week out of the Mountain West’s crop of golf talent.

It means you know how to finish high on a leader board, shoot low, finish clutch.

But remember a dark horse, of sorts – UNM’s De Roey – played one of her better tournaments of the year in 2013 to grab that MW title.  A hot and motivated golfer with a hot putter is tough to beat.

There also should be some light shed on the Mountain West finale this coming Monday and Tuesday at the Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif.  The 15-team field includes New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV, Fresno State and San Jose State.  That brings the Mountain’s top teams and most of the top individuals together for one last battle prior to the league championships.

If you go by Golfstat.com rankings, Finkelstein will carry the favorite’s role into the MW title chase. Finkelstein is good and, much like UNM’s Stevens, she is steady.  She is the only league golfer to have won Player of Week honors four times this season. She has a 71.86 scoring average which is the best in the Mountain.

She is the top-rated MW golfers at No. 15 heading into the April 14-15 Silverado Showdown in Napa, Calif.  Yes, there are some tough travel sites for collegiate golfers.   Finkelstein also has hit par or better 13 times, has dipped into the 60s five times and has two tournament wins.

Stevens is next on the Golfstat.com list at No. 50 with a 72.2 scoring average – less than one lipped putt behind Finkelstein.  The UNM senior has one win this year, has gone par or better 13 times and has slipped into the 60s three times.  She will be chasing her first MW title.

The Aztecs’ duo of Henrikson and Blair are next on the Golfstat.com list with rankings of 55 and 67, respectively.  However, they both carry a 73.7 stroke average and both have a 73.29 adjusted average in the Golfstat rankings.   Blair has a single win and has gone par or better eight times. Henrikson has yet to win and has shot par or better seven times.

Martin is the most recent addition to the MW’s Golfer of the Week list after her win at the Cowgirl Classic held in Arizona. The sophomore might be the longshot in that award-winning group.  She has a 74.88 average with five cards par or better and has only slipped into the 60s one time. However, Martin also knows how to win with two career victories. She has six Top 10 finishes this year.

UNM’s De Roey won the whole MW enchilada last year and carries a 74.25 stroke average into Napa.  She has not won this season, but has carded par or better six times and has scratched into the 60s one time. She has two career wins including that MW trophy.

A few dark horses to add: UNLV’s Mayko Chwen Wang, Fresno’s Madchen Ly, San Jose States’ Regan De Guzman and UNM’s Manon Molle.

The favorites?  Just like last year, the lean goes to Finkelstein and Stevens -- with Henrikson, Martin, De Roey and Blair nipping at their heels. And look out for the field!  Things might change at Napa. We’ll keep you posted.

But one thing can be certain about the 54-hole shootout in Rancho Mirage: there will be a lot of motivated golfers eying the individual crown.

But which one will have a putter too hot to touch?

GolfStat.com's Mountain West's Top 10 Rankings 

Name Yr. School Avg. Score vs. Par
Dana Finkelstein Jr. UNLV 71.86 -0.18
Sammi Stevens Sr. UNM 72.20 0.05
Emma Henrikson So. SDSU 73.79 1.74
Sirene Blair Fr. SDSU 73.79 1.74
Madchen Ly Jr. Fresno 74.09 2.05
Manon De Roey Sr. UNM 74.25 2.10
Mayko Chwen Wang Jr. UNLV 74.74 2.68
Regan De Guzman So.  SJS 74.64 2.91
Samantha Martin So. Boise 74.88 3.00
Manon Molle Fr. UNM 76.00 3.85