April 14, 2003
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University men and women's golf teams begin their quest for the 2003 West Coast Conference crown today at the Riverbend Golf Club in Madera, Calif. The two-day, 54-hole event will showcase 36 holes on Monday followed by the final 18 on Tuesday.
Santa Clara's men's team enters the tournament having had an up-and-down time over the last two tournaments. They finished 11th at the UCSB Bite/Pacific Coast Intercollegiate after posting a team best score for three rounds of 869. They followed that performance up with a 17th place finish at last week's Western Intercollegiate, finishing the 54-hole event with a team score of 883.
The women enter the tournament after a third place finish at the Santa Clara Colby Invitational Golf Tournament that saw Meggie Fagundes capture Medalist Honors en route to her selection as the WCC Golfer of the Month for March. As a team the Broncos posted a score of 642 over the two-rounds, finishing six strokes ahead of Gonzaga, which was the only other WCC team in the field.
Courtney Dimpel-Composti leads the women in scoring average with her 82.5 stroke average while Justin Ahasic paces the men with his 74.6 average which includes his back-to-back 69's durinig the second and third rounds of the Western Intercollegiate.
The WCC added a women's golf championship beginning in 1997. The title has been the property of Pepperdine and San Francisco during its six-year history, with the Lady Dons winning twice and the Waves taking it home four times. Both schools have finished either first or second in all six tournaments.
Last year, Pepperdine's Lindsey Wright led five Waves golfers finishing in the top 10 by winning her second title in the last three years. The Victoria, Australia native broke her own WCC championship record by winning the individual crown by an impressive seven strokes. Wright also claimed the title in 2000 when she was just a freshman, claiming the indivdual title by a then record five strokes. Wright, who will be looking to defend her crown, is the only two-time individual crown winner WCC women's or men's golf history.
The WCC has sponsored men's golf championships since 1969, and the event has dominated in the last decade by Pepperdine University. The Waves, winners of four straight WCC tournaments, have claimed 10 WCC championships since 1990 (and 12 in all dating back to 1987) and took home the NCAA championship title in 1997.
In 2002, the Waves continued their dominance, leading from the opening day till the final round. The last team other than the Waves to win the championship was the Santa Clara Broncos who took home the award in 1998. John Chirila of Saint Mary's is the highest returning finisher from last season, capturing third place in last year's championship with a two over par 218.