Wednesday, February 25, 2009

UCLA Wins 2009 Wildcat Invitational Golf Tournament

On February 24 UCLA fired a final day low round of 1-under 287 to lead wire-to-wire on the way to claiming the 2009 Wildcat Invitational hosted by the University of Arizona at the Mayan Palace Resorts' Peninsula Golf Club.

The Bruins finished the three-day event with a team total of 5-over 869, winning the title by nine shots over Pac-10 rivals Arizona State and USC. Oklahoma State shot 296 on the final day and held off Pepperdine for 4th place, edging the Waves by one stroke, 888-889.

The host Wildcats finished sixth overall, shooting 295 on Tuesday to end up at 899 (+35).

This is the first time the Wildcat Invitational was held in Mexico. The 2009 Invitational was a 54-hole event contested over three days playing to a par 72, 6,345 yard layout.

The Mayan Palace Group and the Sonora Office of Tourism furnished complimentary charter bus transportation to and from the Tucson Airport for team arrival and departure, as well as transportation between the golf club and the resort. A welcoming dinner and special events were held at the resort following the conclusion of competition each day. The Arizona Golf Association provided tournament staff and support.

A host of players all contended for the individual crown before a pair of competitors ended up sharing the spoils at 3-under 213 for the tournament. Lizette Salas of USC shot 3-under 69 to match the 54-hole total of Jodi Ewart of New Mexico.

Ewart, who was the only player to shoot par or better in all three rounds, shot 70 on Tuesday after shooting 72 and 71 on Sunday and Monday, respectively.

Second round leader Carlota Ciganda of Arizona State slipped to a tie for third despite shooting 1-under 71 on Tuesday, sharing the position with Caroline Hedwall of Oklahoma State, who fired a 2-under 70 in her final round.

Stephanie Kono shot even par 72 on Tuesday to claim 5th place at 1-under par while Linn Gustafson of Tulane finished the event at even after shooting 70.

Alejandra Llaneza led the host Wildcats by finishing in a tie for 14th place, firing a final round 72 to finish at 4-over 220. Nikki Koller was two shots back in a tie for 18th after shooting 74 on the final day.

Brittany Benvenuto (+13, 229), Margarita Ramos (+14, 230) and Isabelle Boineau (+16, 232) rounded out the team scoring for Arizona while individuals Emily Mason (+17, 233), Marisa Smith (+37, 253) and Ashley Malaska (+40, 256) also competed for the Wildcats.

The Peninsula golf course opened in 2006 and is the nearest ocean side golf course to Arizona, only 3.5 hours drive from Phoenix and Tucson. A product of the unbeatable creativity of Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus II, the 18 hole par 72 course plays from 5,300 to 7,100 yards in length with splendid fairways and abounds with native desert vegetation. It is a uniquely challenging course that is completely surrounded by water. Almost every hole has a marvelous wind-swept view of the Sea of Cortes or the natural estuary.

For more information on the Wildcat Gold Tournament, visit the University of Arizona Wildcats official athletics site.

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