April 18, 2012
Laramie, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming women's golf team hits the links for the final time this season when the Cowgirls travel to the 2012 Mountain West Championship on Friday-Sunday at the Wigwam Resort in Phoenix, Ariz. The seven-team field will tee off for 18 holes each day at 8 a.m. MT and fans can follow live hole-by-hole results through Golfstat.com.
"Our goals for the MW Championship are very similar to what they've been this whole semester, as far as playing within ourselves and maintaining our emotions," UW head coach Josey Stender said. "We'll have a straight forward game plan for the course, so we can effectively manage it and then not getting too high or too low with our emotions. If we can stick to those two things, we'll play well."
Wyoming, which is paired with San Diego State and TCU in the first round, returns three Cowgirls from a squad that finished seventh last season with a score of 910 (+46). The three-round total tied UW's best tournament score during 2010-11 and was the Cowgirls' lowest total at the conference championship since Stender took over the program in 2006. The tournament returns to Wigwam again this year, but will play on the Golf Course.
"This course is supposedly much more difficult than last year, but the environment will still be familiar," Stender said. "The Gold Course will probably play longer considering last year's course was extremely dry and hard and fast. I think that plays to our advantage. If we can get confident with the putter early on, that will be a huge boost to our mentality throughout the tournament."
Wyoming is led by senior Juanita Rico, who tied for 24th at last year's championship with a 226 (+10), but has been one of the top performers in the league this spring. She was named the MW Golfer of the Month on March 29 after notching top-20 finishes in each of UW's four tournaments during the month, including two top-five showings. Junior Dana Zamprelli shot a 230 (+14) for 28th at last year's MW tournament, while sophomore Stacey Blunt tied for 32nd with a 235 (+19). Both have shot career-low rounds of 71 (-1) and 73 (+1), respectively, during 2011-12. Sophomore Emily Wood and freshman Samantha Stancato round out UW's lineup and will make their first appearance at the MW Championship this weekend.
UW played well the majority of the spring season, until hosting the Cowgirl Classic on April 9-11. Wyoming carded the third-lowest team score in school history with a 900 (+36) at the MountainView Collegaite on March 23-24, after finishing fifth as a team at the Fresno State Lexus Classic on March 12-13. The team stumbled, though, with a 17th-place finish at their own tournament by shooting 931 (+67).
"We rebound from that tournament by knowing that we can play better," Stender said. "What we've been doing has been working and going into conference we are still going to focus on the same things we have been. We just need to stay true to what we know."
TCU captured the team title in 2011 with an 865 (+1), while UNLV's Therese Koelbaek took home the individual trophy at 209 (-7). New Mexico had won the previous three team titles. The Horned Frogs enter this year's tournament as the top-ranked MW team, earning the No. 37 spot in the latest Golfweek rankings, while a total of four conference teams are ranked in the top 50 in the nation. Individually, SDSU's Christine Wong is No. 62 and TCU's Brooke Beeler is No. 78, but this season's five MW Golfer of the Month honorees have all been from different schools.