April 22, 2006
ST. GEORGE, Utah -
The University of Wyoming Cowgirl golf team saved their best for last and shot their lowest round of the event and the spring on Saturday at the 2006 Mountain West Conference Women's Golf Championship. In windy conditions, the Cowgirls scored 313 (+25) at the Entrada at Snow Canyon golf course in St. George. Despite posting the fourth best team round of the day and making up eight strokes on the field, Wyoming still could not avoid finishing seventh.
Nationally 13th ranked UNLV carded a final round 301 (+13) and the team title with a 54-hole total of 895 (+31). The Rebels have now won three consecutive MWC Women's Golf Championships. Five strokes back, #26 New Mexico (900) finished with a final round of 302 to maintain its second place slot. #27 BYU shot 303 on the last day and 907 for the championship, placing them third in the seven team field. #36 TCU was fourth with a score of 927, followed by San Diego State fifth (930), Colorado State sixth (934) and Wyoming seventh (954).
In one of the top golf conferences in the nation and in a field full of top 50 players, Cowgirl freshman Mikala Henzlik turned some heads by shooting a final round of 70 (-2) and vaulting from 19th to fourth place out of 35 golfers. Not only was the two under-par round the tournament low, but it was also Henzlik's career best. The conference finish was the highest for a Cowgirl golfer since Jordan Lintz won the inaugural MWC title in 2000. Henzlik's tournament total was 224 (+8), only two strokes back of first place.
It took a one-hole playoff to break a three-way tie of freshman at the top of the standings. Da Sol Chung of UNLV captured the individual title with a birdie on the first playoff hole after firing a final round 73 (+1), giving her a championship total of a 222 (+6). New Mexico's Py Bengtsson and Mikaela Backstedt made par in the playoff and would tie for second place. After Henzlik in fourth, defending champion Elena Kurokawa of UNLV and Ashley Childers of BYU would tie for fifth at 225 (+9).
"Today was exciting for this team," said UW head coach Josey Stender. "The mood of our team was very positive and we ended our year with a good round. We finished respectably, beat several teams head-to-head today and that was our goal.
"We are focusing on the future with this program and if today is an indication then that future has some promise. This was our low round of the semester and on perhaps the hardest course we've played during that time. We didn't cash it in and our hard work paid off."
Solid as she had been the entire event, Wyoming sophomore Laura Mengelkamp shot 77 (+5) on day three and finished in a tie for 14th place. Her event total was 230 (+14).
Fellow second-year UW player Lindsay Bauknecht scored 81 (+9) in her final round and totaled 242 (+26).
The Cowgirls' positive finish at the championship did not go unnoticed by Wyoming Director of Men's and Women's Golf Joe Jensen. "I am pleased with the job that Josey has done this year," said Jensen. "Her team showed some good things throughout this transition season. We are looking toward the future with the Wyoming Golf programs and our women's team has some good college players to build on and some exciting new players coming in next year."
The MWC Championship was the Cowgirls final event of the 2005-06 season.
All-Conference Team: Seema Sadekar, UNLV, Grace Wood, UNLV, Da Sol Chung, UNLV, Elena Kurokawa, UNLV, Chelsea Benton, CSU, Mikaela Backstedt, UNM, Py Bengtsson, UNM, Rachel Newren, BYU
Coach of the Year: Missy Ringler, UNLV
Player of the Year: Da Sol Chung, UNLV
Freshman of the Year: Da Sol Chung, UNLV and Mikaela Backstedt, UNM