Hall of Honor Tickets: The awards banquet begins at 6 p.m., Friday (Nov. 15) at the Crowne Plaza. Tickets are $60 each or $600 for a table of 10. Call the UNM Alumni Lettermen’s Association at 925-5905 to purchase tickets.
By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
A national championship is always a special thing to watch being won. It’s even more special when you get to watch a teammate become No. 1 in their sport.
Jill Trujillo, the New Mexico Lobos women’s golf coach, once had a bird’s eye view of a national title coming to a Lobo.
“It was a long, long time ago,” said Trujillo, reflecting on the NCAA title won by Lobo Caroline Keggi in 1987 on the UNM Championship Course. “But it was an exciting time.”
Yeah, it was exciting, but maybe not all that glamorous for the Lobo freshman, whose job during the 1987 NCAA Championships was to help monitor the women’s bathroom where samples were being taken for testing.
The real excitement was on the course. Keggi, a UNM senior, had finished her final round with a 2-under card of 71, but Anne Jones of San Jose State had blistered the front nine in 6-under and appeared to be heading toward the title.
Then Jones ran into trouble. When she marched up No. 18, her approach shot into the green hit a spectator and rolled into the rough. Jones took a penalty stroke, two putted the hole and ended up in a tie with Keggi.
The two talented golfers marched into a sudden-death playoff and Jones continued to find trouble. Her drive went into the rough. Keggi stayed straight and her tap-in par won the hole – and the national title.
“She was just so consistent, fairway to green, green to in the hole,” said Trujillo. “To win a national championship, you have to do that.”
Keggi is one of seven Lobos the University of New Mexico Alumni Lettermen’s Association will induct into the UNM Hall of Honor this Friday.
“Caroline was always a great leader,” said Trujillo. “She was very friendly. She taught me some shots that really helped my college performance.”
A national championship is a difficult thing to win. Keggi almost did it twice. She finished runner-up in 1986.
Her outstanding golf as an amateur got her invited to play in the 1988 Nabisco Dinah Shore. Keggi finished fourth place, which is the highest finish ever by an amateur in that prestigious major championship.
That also was one of Keggi’s top finished in an LPGA event. She turned pro in 1989, earning $719,377 in nine seasons. She posted six top 20 finishes in her rookie season and a year later she recorded her career-low round of 67 during the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open.
Keggi , who battled a shoulder injury late in her career, retired from the LPGA Tour after the 1999 season, but played one event in 2000. She had 23 finishes in the Top Ten, never won a LPGA event, but had two runner-up paychecks.
As a Lobo, Keggi set the standards for Lobo golfers to shoot at – until Jodi Ewart came along and broke most of Keggi’s mark. However, Ewart never did get a national title and Keggi remains the program’s only national champion.
Keggi came a long way to be a Lobo and that journey from Connecticut also included a stop at Ohio State. She made all-conference honors at Ohio State, but transferred to UNM after her freshman year.
She was a three-time All-Western Athletic Conference golfer as a Lobo. She finished 24th in the NCAA finals in her sophomore year. She was a two-time All-American golfer as a Lobo and in her senior year won the Honda Broderick Award for Golf which is the most prestigious honor a collegiate player can earn.
On Dec. 8, 1999, Keggi was inducted into the Connecticut State Golf Association Hall of Fame.
Other UNM Hall of Honor Inductees: George Brooks (Skiing), Tim Cass (Tennis, Administration),, Luc Longley (Basketball), Terance Mathis (Football), Frank Sedillo (Distinguished Service Award-Football), and Paul Smith (Posthumous – Football) Also, Glen Millican of men’s golf was named Coach of the Year, Caroline Durbin of women’s basketball was named Female Athlete of the Year, and Mitchell Garver of baseball was named Male Athlete of the Year.