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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA takes top spot at PING/ASU invitational

The No. 8 ranked Arizona women’s golf team was successful over the weekend in Tempe after the Wildcats snagged their second tournament win of the season on Sunday.

The Wildcats shot 861 (-3) and took first place at the PING/ASU Invitational for the first time since 2000.

The last time Arizona was victorious in Tempe, the Wildcats brought home a national championship and were led by then-Pac-10 Player of the Year Jenna Daniels.

According to Arizona coach Laura Ianello, a national championship is in arm’s reach.

“I’ve said this since the beginning of the year: I know we are capable of winning a national championship,” Ianello said. “We have so much talent, and we’re playing so well that winning a national championship is doable.”

More importantly, the Wildcats finished ahead of instate rival ASU and gained even more momentum to what is already a solid spring season. This event could be a huge confidence booster for the Wildcats, considering they competed with No. 7 Arkansas, No. 1 USC, No. 2 Washington, No. 3 UCLA and No. 5 Duke.

The Wildcats spent the last invitational at home and finished in second place at the Wildcat Invitational. Arizona shot 845 (-19), and that score lifted the Wildcats to a new school record over 54 holes.

“The girls set a new school record and still lost to USC by 11 strokes at home,” Ianello said. “So I think we were extra motivated to get out there and show these top-ranked teams that we can compete.”

Arizona teed off on Friday and ended the afternoon tied for fourth place (E). Arizona was led by Wanasa Zhou after the sophomore finished tied for 14th place and shot a 71 (-1).

Zhou would also be the only Wildcat to finish in the top 20 of the first round.

Senior Manon Gidali and junior Lindsey Weaver finished tied for 24th place after they both shot 72 (E). Freshman Krystal Quihuis tied for 29th place by scoring a 73 (+1). The Wildcats were lucky to find themselves in the top five, despite not shining on the individual leader board.

“We were lead by Lindsey Weaver, Manon Gidali and Krystal Quihuis the entire tournament,” Ianello said, “and they definitely lifted us, and they played fantastic for us this week.”

Arizona would surge in the second round, improving its score to 564 strokes overall (-12). That score would also be the second best score of a round the Wildcats posted all season.

Gidali and Weaver once again carded identical scores in the second round as the pair each shot a 4-under-par and moved up to a tie for seventh place.

Zhou shared 12th place after the second round after carding a 70 (-2) that lifted her to 3-under-par for the tournament. Quihuis would also climb the leader board 10 spots to a tie for 19th place after shooting a 2-under-par, which aided the freshman’s score to 143 strokes overall (-1).

The Wildcats would find themselves in the driver’s seat and were set to finish the event on Sunday in the final round. The first place Wildcats were looking for a solid final round to end the regular season on a positive note and prove they can compete amongst the best.

Arizona would go on to have a sloppy final round (+9), but thanks to a comfortable lead after the second round, the Wildcats would go to win the event by seven strokes.

The trio of Quihuis, Weaver and Gidali would finish tied for 10th place with an overall score of 215 (-1). Zhou would finish the event at 3-over-par and 20th place. Arizona captured its second win of the season with the help of four Wildcats finishing in the top 20.

“We know we can play with the best teams in the country,” Ianello said, “but right now, our main focus is on the Pac-12 [Conference] Championships, which has basically the same teams we played against this week. So, we’ll have our hands full again.”

Arizona will compete at the Pac-12 Championships from April 20-22 in Boulder, Colo.

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Follow Justin Spears on Twitter.

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