Stevens: Freshman Molle Paces UNM's Final Round
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  03/26/2014

New Mexico Lobos Women’s Golf – at the SDSU Farms Invitational

Where: Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. -- The Farms Golf Club

Top Five Teams (Final): 1- USC 298-281-282 = 861. 2- Stanford 290-285-289 = 864. 2 (tie)- UCLA 285-286-293 = 864. 4- Arizona State 295-284-302 = 881. 5- San Diego State 292-292-305 = 889. 10- New Mexico 306-304-306 = 916.

Top Four Individuals: 1 - Karen Chung, USC, 74-68-66 = 208. 2- Lauren Kim, Stanford, 69-71-70 = 210. 3- Casey Danielson, Stanford, 72-68-71 = 211. 4- Alison Lee, UCLA, 68-73-73 = 214.

The Lobos: Sammi Stevens, 73-72-75 = 220; Manon De Roey, 73-72-80 = 225; Manon Molle, 78-77-74 = 229;  Sofia Hoglund, 82-83-77 = 242;  Katerina Jaeger, 96-85-82 = 263;  Eva Saulnier (individual), 79-78-77 = 234.

By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif. – The recent pattern in Manon Molle’s golf game shows a favorable curve in how this New Mexico freshman handles the challenges of a golf course and also the challenge of playing collegiate golf.

Molle usually gets better each round.

“I was extremely satisfied with Manon’s play today,” said Lobo Coach Jill Trujillo.  “She is usually steady the whole way around, but she looked really comfortable today.  She has been really working hard on her putting.”

At the 17-team San Diego State Farms’ Invitational that ended Wednesday on the Farms Golf Club, Molle scratched strokes off her card each day going from 79 to 78 to 74 on the tourney’s final round.

In the last tournament UNM competed in (Juli Inkster Spartan Invite), she went from 78 to 77 to her best road round as a Lobo at 72.   Molle also saved her best round for last at the 2013 Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational by carding a career-best 71 over the UNM Championship Course.

She had her best round at the Betsy Rawls over the final 18 and her best round at the Las Vegas Collegiate on the final 18.  She almost saved her best for last at the USC Challenge finishing 73-74 after a first-day card of 75.

Coach Trujillo went into the final round at the SDSU Farms Invite asking her Lobos to improve their cards and make a charge.

Molle did exactly that and Trujillo also got improvement on the scorecards of Sofia Hoglund, Katerina Jaeger and Eva Saulnier, who was playing as an individual.

However, Trujillo’s top two golfers – seniors Sammi Stevens and Manon De Roey – hit a few bumps and bogeys on the testing turf at the Farms Golf Club.

“Manon (De Roey) kind of struggled from the get-go,” said Trujillo. “She started hitting it crooked and had to struggle to get it back.  The course was windy and the course played a lot differently today. The greens were bumpy from some rain and not rolling as true as normal. 

“It’s a tough course and it played tough today.”

Manon Molle

It wasn’t that tough for Molle.  The Lobo rookie threw out one of her best rounds of the season with a two-over 74 which was a three-shot improvement over Tuesday’s 77.  Hoglund improved by six shots and Jaeger improved by three.  Saulnier took her score down a stroke over each 18 holes and shot a 77 in Wednesday’s final round.

“Consistency is the key,” said Trujillo.  “We were consistent all three rounds, but we need lower consistency.  Our scores were too high.  It’s important to have a couple of golfers go low.”

Scorecards are influenced by weather and the difficultly of a course.  But to do well in a tournament, you usually have to get your team score into the low 290s.   UNM went 306-304-306 for a 54-hole total of 916 which was good for a tenth-place tie.

The Lobos’ Mountain West sisters – San Diego State and UNLV – each slipped into the 290s twice.  The Aztecs used two solid rounds of 292-292 to help them grab fifth place and UNLV used its 294, 299 rounds to help the Rebels claim the No. 7 spot.

The battle for the top spot was a dramatic three-team charge by No. 1 ranked Southern Cal, No. 2 UCLA and No. 4 Stanford.   The USC Trojans were in a 13-stroke hole to UCLA after 18 holes, but claimed the team title by going 281-282 over the final 36 holes.  USC had an opening-round 298. 

The Trojans picked up 11 shots on UCLA on Wednesday and won the title by three shots over Stanford and UCLA, who tied at 864.  UCLA shot a 293 over the final 18 holes to help red-hot USC grab the team title.

USC’s Karen Chung didn’t have much trouble with the Farms Golf Club on Wednesday as she carded a six-under 66 to take individual honors (208) by two strokes over Stanford’s Lauren Kim (210). Cardinal Casey Danielson was third at 211. Chung was 10-under on her final 36 holes.

SDSU’s Emma Henrikson had a three-shot lead going into the final round, but ballooned to an 80 to finished tied for fifth – a six-player logjam at 217 that included UNLV’s Dana Finkelstein.  UNM’s Stevens was the next highest Mountain West finisher in the 16th spot only three strokes (220) behind Henrikson and Finkelstein.  SDSU’s Paige Spiranac finished at 223.

New Mexico’s Stevens and De Roey were in 12th place after 36 holes, but faded on Wednesday. Stevens shot a 75 on the final 18 and De Roey carded an uncharacteristic 80 as UNM failed to make the final-day charge that Trujillo was hoping for.  The Lobos’ team card of 52-over-par placed them in a tenth-place tie with Oklahoma State. The top four individual cards form a five-player team’s total each day.

Sammi Stevens

It was a tough final round for De Roey as she had only four bogeys over the first 36 holes, but had seven bogeys on her last 18 plus one double bogey.  Molle had three bogeys against a lone birdie in crafting her 74.

“We still need to play better as a team,” said Trujillo.  “With any college sports, it’s a team effort.”

The Mountain West title chase is set for April 24-26 in Palm Springs, Calif.  The Lobos have only one other tourney on tab prior to the MW chase: the Silverado Tournament April 14-15 at Napa, Calif.

The leader board at the Farms Invite should provide some motivation for the Lobos as they hit the final turns of the 2014 spring season.   The SDSU Aztecs used their home-course advantage to shoot a team total of 889 – 27 shots better than the Lobos.  UNLV shot 897 to finish seventh – 19 shots ahead of UNM.

The Aztecs have a good chance to go into the MW Championships as the favorite with UNLV, New Mexico and San Jose State also in the hunt.