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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Women’s golf’s bright future already producing

    Freshman Amanda Wilson tees off on the 17th hole April 26 at the Oro Valley Country Club in the final round of the Pacific 10 Conference Championship. Wilson is part of a quartet of freshman golfers for No. 19 Arizona who typically occupied four of the five starting spots for the young Wildcats.
    Freshman Amanda Wilson tees off on the 17th hole April 26 at the Oro Valley Country Club in the final round of the Pacific 10 Conference Championship. Wilson is part of a quartet of freshman golfers for No. 19 Arizona who typically occupied four of the five starting spots for the young Wildcats.

    Sometimes, youthful energy is the perfect catalyst for a successful team.

    More often, however, inexperience proves to be an unbearable Achilles’ heel.

    For the No. 19 Arizona women’s golf team, the youth are not only the catalyst for the team; they are the team, typically occupying at least four of the five starting spots. And so far this season, the Wildcats have survived on the strength of their quartet of freshmen, despite delivering sometimes-unpredictable results.

    “”We’ve been real inconsistent,”” Arizona women’s golf head coach Greg Allen said.

    “”But I think any time you depend so heavily on freshmen, you are going to have some good rounds and some not-so-great rounds,”” he added. “”I really feel like our freshmen have matured throughout the year.””

    Many times for younger players, Allen said, the major issues have to do with things that have nothing to do with golf.

    “”The biggest adjustment (for freshmen) is the other things that go along with golf, like school,”” Allen said. “”Academically, they’re missing a lot of school – they have to learn how to deal with how to make up for missed class time.””

    That has been especially true for star freshman Adriana Zwanck, who came from distant Madrid, Spain, to play golf with the Wildcats.

    “”It’s been a tough adjustment for her, transitioning with school and not understanding a lot of the teachers,”” Allen said. “”But the more comfortable she gets at home, the more it shows on the course.””

    Zwanck, who in her first season has already captured individual tournament wins twice and been selected as Golf World’s female college Player of the Week once, leads the team in both stroke average (73.86) and most rounds under par (six). Zwanck, along with her freshman classmates Lauren Espinosa and Amanda Wilson, received Pacific 10 All-Conference Honorable Mentions.

    Those three players, despite amassing 16 rounds below par and seven finishes in the top 10 between them so far this season, still feel that there is room to step up their game.

    “”There’s a lot of things we need to improve on still,”” Espinosa said. “”We are immature and we do stupid things, and we’re still learning.””

    Aside from the freshmen, senior Cassandra Kirkland was a mainstay in the starting lineup, one of only two seniors left on the squad to mentor the younger players after redshirt senior Lani Elston-Marshall’s departure in December, when she graduated.

    “”I think Lani leaving affected the team a little bit because she was always in the lineup and always had a good score,”” Kirkland said. “”(After she left) I had to give the right example and had to be there to help the freshmen.””

    “”It was weird, because freshman and sophomore years I was always the youngest and looking up to the other girls,”” she added.

    The Wildcats still finished in fifth place at the Pac-10 Championships in Oro Valley, and are currently the No. 6 seed going into the NCAA West Regional, which will be held at the Washington National Golf Club in Auburn, Wash., May 11-13. The Wildcats tied for second place in the National Championship on that course in 2002, and they are hoping to be able to repeat their success this year.

    “”I feel like all the pieces are falling into shape for regionals,”” Allen said.

    Of course, the key will be to see if the team can relax and play comfortably away from home and with the pressures that the end of the school year brings.

    “”We’ve been really stressed out with finals and everything,”” Espinosa said. “”It will be a relief once we actually go to regionals.””

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