Men's and women's golf record different finishes over weekend

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Courtesy of Arizona Athletics

Arizona men's golf freshman George Cunningham takes a swing during the National Invitational Tournament on Monday at the Omni Tucson National golf course. Cunningham and the Wildcats finished in 12th place at the NIT.

Arizona women’s golf had the busiest and the most fulfilling weekend of the spring season with a quick in-state road trip to Sedona, Ariz., for the Red Rocks Invitational.

While the Wildcats were in Sedona, sophomore Wanasa Zhou was invited to compete in the Symetra Tour’s Volvik Championship in Beaumont, Calif.

Zhou shot a total of 145 (+1) in the first two rounds while making the cut for Sunday. However, Zhou fell on the final day and finished tied for 66th place.

Zhou was also the only player who made that cut that didn’t receive a cash prize due to being a collegiate player.

While the usual lineup prepared for another trip to Florida, the Wildcats took freshman Krystal Quihuis, freshman Natalia Forero, sophomore Jessica Vasilic and senior Andrea Vilarasau to Sedona to give everyone on the roster a chance to compete frequently. Assistant coach Derek Radley was the head coach for the event.

Vilarasau held the best finish amongst Wildcats in the two-day event tied for sixth place with a total score of 147 strokes (+3). The veteran reserve shot a 74 on the first day and a 73 on the final day.

“Andrea is currently trying to play her way back into the lineup, and, being a senior, she definitely took a step forward,” Radley said. “Being a senior and having Andrea compete like this is a great feeling as a coach.”

The Wildcat players were the only competitors from the Pac-12 Conference that competed in the event, and they can now feel relieved after the performance the starters and reserves posted.

Arizona men’s golf returned to Tucson this week for the National Invitational Tournament; however, the event was held at Omni Tucson National rather than Sewailo Golf Club. The Wildcats stumbled this weekend and finished the tournament with a total of 891 strokes (+27) and finished in 12th place.

“It wasn’t our best golf today,” Arizona men’s golf coach Jim Anderson said. “The wind picked up, and we couldn’t play through it, but we know what we need to do moving forward.” 

The Wildcats teed off on Saturday and were coming off yet another top-10 finish in Hawaii the weekend before, where the team finished seventh in the John Burns Invitational. 

Arizona didn’t disappoint on its somewhat home turf after shooting a 292 (+4) and ending in a tie for fifth place with Cal after the first round. The Wildcats caught fire on the back nine of the first round, where Jake Kreuz was the only Wildcat to not birdie. 

The Wildcats were lead by freshman George Cunningham and senior Alex McMahon. Cunningham posted a score of 71 (-1) and tied for 10th place, while McMahon was in a third place tie after shooting a 70 (-2) after the first round of play. McMahon even made an eagle on the second hole par-4.

Cunningham continued to improve and maintained poise, even when the Wildcats struggled in the second round.

“I was very satisfied with my performance this week, even though we dealt with a lot of wind,” Cunningham said, “but I feel like I’m really progressing as a player.”

McMahon shot a 1-over-par in the second round and was one of four Wildcats to shoot above par. McMahon and Cunningham were the only Wildcats in the top 15 after the second round.

The Wildcats knew what needed to be done for the final round, but with a windy Monday, it didn’t get much easier for the team.

Cunningham didn’t have his best round of golf, but posted a solid score of 71 (-1) and finished the tournament tied for second place at 4-under-par.

The Wildcats, as a whole, took a step back this week despite Cunningham shining individually.

“We have our work cut out for us, and now all we can do is prepare and get back on track,” Anderson said.

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