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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Women’s golf takes 6th at Rudolph Championship

    The Mason Rudolph Championship is usually the toughest tournament on the schedule for any team.

    This year was no different, with 13 ranked teams, including all top nine. Add in 8 mph winds, first-event-of-the-year jitters, and facing a former coach for the first time, and what you have is a big challenge for the Arizona women’s golf season opener.

    But the No. 9 Wildcats welcomed the challenge, finishing tied for sixth place with No. 3 USC and No. 5 Auburn in the tournament from Nashville, Tenn., that was held Friday through yesterday.

    A great first round for the entire squad, keyed by senior Alison Walshe, set the pace for Arizona. After Friday’s round, the team sat in third-place at 5-under 283, while Walshe, ranked sixth in the country by GolfWeek magazine, was in a fourth-place tie, shooting 4-under 68.

    “”The conditions were fair (on the first day),”” Walshe said. “”No winds, soft greens, you could just tap the ball.””

    By the time the tournament ended yesterday afternoon, though, Arizona was tied for sixth with a final score of 13-over 877. The lapse was the result of a 6-over final round that saw Walshe fall to 11th place, as she finished even for the weekend.

    “”There were really tough conditions on the second day; the winds were exaggerated,”” she said. “”In the final round, we had a mediocre day and it wasn’t enough to come back.””

    A 1-under-par final day allowed Arizona’s junior Adriana Zwanck, Spain’s top amateur, to break into the top 10. Zwanck’s score of 2-under 214 put her in seventh place, representing the best individual performance in the tournament for Arizona. She birdied three consecutive holes in the final round.

    “”I really liked the course,”” Zwanck said. “”I was feeling comfortable. It’s good when you like the field.””

    The tournament was hosted by Vanderbilt, whose head coach, Greg Allen, was Arizona’s head coach from 2000-2007.

    “”It was sad to see him here (at Vanderbilt),”” Walshe said. “”But we haven’t seen him in a while so it wasn’t really awkward.””

    The tournament proved how tough the Pacific 10 Conference – which has four teams ranked in the top 10 nationally – will be this season, with No. 4 UCLA and No. 2 ASU finishing one and two, and the Bruins winning by 14 strokes at 13-under.

    Despite falling out of the top three, the veteran Wildcats – led by two juniors and two seniors – still hung with the best teams in the nation, tying two teams ahead of them in the national rankings and finishing ahead of two others (No. 7 Purdue and No. 8 Vanderbilt).

    “”Having a first round like we did showed what we’re capable of,”” said Walshe. “”Finishing how we did in this great field wasn’t too bad.””

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