Feb. 4, 2005
UCLA's defending NCAA champion women's golf team travels to the annual Regional Challenge, hosted by Ohio State and USC at the Palos Verdes Golf Course, Feb. 7-9.
The Regional Challenge represents the beginning of the spring season as teams try to build momentum for the NCAA Championship in May. Last year, UCLA won this event by 32 shots and finished the season with five straight victories, including six wins in their final seven full-field events.
"All of our players are well-prepared and excited about having the chance to start our spring with such a strong event," said Head Coach Carrie Forsyth, who earned 2004 NGCA Coach of the Year honors. "There are many great teams in the field, including No.1 ranked Duke and No.4 Arizona State.
"We're a very strong team this year, and we're looking to the leadership of our veterans, as well as strong performances from our freshmen to propel us back into the winner's circle," Forsyth continued. "This golf course requires a tremendous amount of patience because the greens are very tricky and fast. We know the course and that is to our advantage."
Last season, UCLA's Charlotte Mayorkas, then a junior, won the event with a 54-hole total of 207 (-6). She took the first round lead with a five-under par 66 and never looked back. Mayorkas won three more tournaments last spring, including the Pac-10 title.
This season, the two-time All-America senior is bearing down on UCLA's career tournament victories record. Mayorkas needs one more tournament title to tie the record of six career victories held by Kay Cockerill (1983-86).
Susie Mathews, a junior, earned All-America honors last season following a third place finish at the NCAA's. In the fall, she recorded a pair of runnerup finishes.
Sophomore Hannah Jun is UCLA's third All-American. She won the 2004 NCAA West Regional title. In the fall, she tied for ninth place at the Kent Youel Invitational.
Freshman Amie Cochran won the Youel Invitational after recording a pair of Top 10 finishes in the fall. She is joined in the lineup by freshman Vanessa Brockett, a two-time L.A. City women's champion.
Finally, senior Melissa Martin will play in the Regional Challenge as an individual. Martin sat out last season while taking advantage of UCLA's foreign exchange program. In her career, she has played 12 career rounds at the NCAA Championship and finished 18th at the NCAAs as a freshman.
The Bruins, ranked No.2 by GolfWeek entering the Regional Challenge, won one of five fall events and recorded three Top 10 finishes.