April 18, 2007
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming Cowgirl golf team will begin play tomorrow at the 2007 Mountain West Conference Women's Golf Championship, which will run April 19-21 in St. George, Utah.
For the second consecutive year, the league championship will be held Thursday through Saturday at Entrada at Snow Canyon in St. George. The Johnny Miller Signature Golf Course will be played at par 71, 6,210 yards during the tournament.
"This tournament won't be about how far you drive the ball, but more about hitting fairways and greens," said UW head women's coach Josey Stender. "The Ocotillo course we played last week at the Cowgirl Classic prepared us well for the conference championships. There are similarities to Entrada, in that it is target golf.
"We have not played against three of teams in the MWC this year (New Mexico, TCU and UNLV), so this is a bit of an unknown field to us. CSU and UNLV are both without their top players and that could make things interesting. Our team approach is not to play the field though, but more to play to the best of our ability on the course. Our final round here last year was a good one, so our team knows that we can play well at this event."
Each team will play five golfers and count the top four scores. Wyoming's squad will consist of two freshmen, a sophomore and two juniors. UW will travel juniors Lindsay Bauknecht and Laura Mengelkamp, sophomore Mikala Henzlik, as well as freshmen Sarah Fogerty and Jonelle Martinez.
Consistently the Cowgirls' best player, Mengelkamp has tied for 12th and tied for 14th in her two years at the MWC Championship. So far this year she has shot a school-record round of 69 (-3) at San Diego State's fall event, and finished third of 110 individuals at the MSU Bobcat Desert Classic earlier this spring. Laura now has nine top-five finishes in her collegiate career after placing fourth last week at the Wyoming Cowgirl Classic.
Mengelkamp has placed in the top-25 in four of five tournaments this spring, narrowly missing at Oregon where she finished 26th. Her performance at the Cowgirl Classic was her 19th career top-25 finish. She is averaging 77.21 strokes after playing 28 rounds so far this season, and has an 11-6-1 head-to-head record against the league's top-25.
Freshmen Fogerty and Martinez have the next best stroke averages for UW, 80.80 and 81.08 respectively.
Last season the Cowgirls finished seventh at the league tournament, however, did shoot their lowest round of the event and the spring on the final day of the 2006 Championship, 313 (+25). UW received a tremendous individual performance from Henzlik at the event. In her first conference tournament, Henzlik made waves by shooting a final round of 70 (-2) and vaulted 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 MWC finish was the highest for a Cowgirl golfer since Jordan Lintz won the inaugural MWC title in 2000. Henzlik's event total was 224 (+8), only two strokes back of first place.
Seven of the nine MWC schools sponsor women's golf programs. The seven women's golf programs are: Wyoming, Brigham Young, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, TCU and UNLV.
The championship will consist of 54 holes, 18 each day, with tee times at 9:30 a.m. (MT).
Wyoming will be grouped with Colorado State during first round action, while New Mexico will be paired with UNLV. BYU, San Diego State and TCU will form the final group.
The winner of the MWC Tournament receives the conference's automatic bid to one of three NCAA Regional Tournaments, May 10-12.
The MWC is one of the most competitive golf conferences in the nation, with five of seven teams ranked nationally in the top-75 by Golfstat. BYU enters the week at #5, New Mexico is ranked #9, TCU #22, UNLV #44 and CSU at #73. Despite the high national rankings, only two teams have ever won MWC Women's Golf team titles; the 2006 champion UNLV Rebels, who have won three straight crowns, and the New Mexico Lobos, who had won the previous four MWC team titles. Da Sol Chung of UNLV captured the 2006 individual medalist honors.
BYU senior Rachel Newren has the best stroke average in the conference this season at 72.81, in addition to the most head-to-head wins against the league's top-25 with a record of 86-18-3.
The MWC will provide live stats for the Championship. You can find the live stats link on the MWC Golf Championship webpage at www.TheMWC.com. Simply click the golf championship link to track all the action. You can also go directly to www.Golfstat.com to find the live stat link.