Women's Golf Gearing Up for MW Championship

Mila Chaves and the Aztecs are gearing up for the MW Championship next week.
Mila Chaves and the Aztecs are gearing up for the MW Championship next week.
April 14, 2018

SDSU Tournament Notes | Live Results

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego State women’s golf team will be seeking its second conference title in the last four years when it ventures to the Palm Springs area next week for the Mountain West Championship, April 16-18, in Rancho Mirage, Calif. The 54-hole event will be contested at Mission Hills Country Club on the renowned Dinah Shore Tournament Course, home of one of the LPGA Tour’s majors, the ANA Inspiration, formerly known as the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

The nine-team field will play 18 holes on the par-72, 6,270-yard layout each of the three days, following a practice round on Sunday. The Aztecs received the No. 2 seed are scheduled to tee off with No. 5 Fresno State and No. 8 Wyoming in the second group on Monday, starting at 7:45 a.m. PT, while the pairings for the final two rounds with be based on team standings. A live scoring link will be available courtesy of Golfstat on GoAztecs.com.

The MW Championship returns to Mission Hills for the sixth straight season after a two-year run in 2011 and 2012 at the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park, Ariz., just outside of Phoenix. During the 2009 and 2010 campaigns, the event was held at the Black Horse Golf Club in Seaside, Calif., near Monterey. In the league’s 18-year history, the championships have also been conducted in three other states: Oregon, Utah and New Mexico.

Aztec Lineup For This Week
Seventh-year San Diego State head coach Leslie Spalding will accompany five golfers to the Coachella Valley next week, featuring freshmen Sara Kjellker (Hollviken, Sweden) and Gioia Carpinelli (Boppelsen, Switzerland), seniors Mila Chaves (Asuncion, Paraguay) and Georgia Lacey (Del Mar, Calif.), along with sophomore Fernanda Escauriza (Asunción, Paraguay).

Escauriza will be looking to defend her individual title from a year ago, when she became the Aztecs’ first-ever medalist in a conference tournament after shooting a 6-under 210 to win by two strokes.

In addition, Chaves will has found success in her two previous MW Championship appearances, falling on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff as a freshman in 2015, before finishing a solo third the following year during her sophomore campaign.

Lacey also finds herself in the thick of the fight for the fourth straight season, posting her best placement in 2016 with a 16th-place effort, while Kjellker and Carpinelli are each making their conference tournament debuts.

SDSU At The MW Championship
Despite boasting individual medalist Fernanda Escauriza and setting a program record for lowest 54-hole team score in a conference tournament with a collective 7-over 871, the Aztecs finished in second place at the Mountain West Championship for the second year in a row last season, finishing three strokes behind UNLV (+4).

SDSU also came up short in its quest for a second consecutive league title the previous year after finishing second at the 2016 Mountain West Championship. Despite shooting a combined 2-under 286 during the final round, a school standard for 18 holes in a conference tournament, the Scarlet and Black landed in the runner-up spot at 22-over 886, nine strokes in back of champion UNLV.

In 2015, the Aztecs captured the first MW championship in program history after topping New Mexico by five shots. Despite falling on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff, Mila Chaves shattered the SDSU record for best individual score in a 54-hole league tournament after firing a 6-under 210, which was ultimately matched by fellow compatriot Escauriza last year. With her first-place tie in regulation, Chaves equaled the finish of Christine Wong, who also lost on the fourth hole of a playoff in 2012.

In addition to its conference crown that season, San Diego has finished fifth at the MW tourney on seven occasions, second four times, third and seventh twice, while placing fourth and sixth once each.

In 2014, the Aztecs landed in a three-way tie for third after occupying the fifth position in 2013. SDSU also posted back-to-back fifth-place performances in 2010 and 2011 to go along with another third-place effort in 2012. In addition, the Scarlet and Black wound up seventh in both 2008 and 2009, following a sixth-place result in 2007. The program was also fifth in 2003, 2005 and 2006, fourth in 2004 to go with consecutive runner-up efforts in 2001 and 2002. The Aztecs were disqualified in the inaugural tournament in 2000, after two players turned in incorrect scorecards in the third and final round.

The Competition
Five of SDSU’s opponents at the MW Championship are among the top 100 teams in the latest Golfstat rankings released April 10. Defending champion UNLV is the highest rated squad in the field, landing in the 41st spot this week, while San José State checks in at No. 58, followed by New Mexico (65), Fresno State (80) and Colorado State (84). In addition, SDSU will lock horns with Nevada (129), Colorado State (120), Wyoming (138) and Boise State (175), while the two remaining MW members, Air Force and Utah State, do not sponsor women’s golf programs.

The Aztecs own a 6-2 record in head-to-head results against four conference foes during the 2017-18 campaign, including 2-0 marks against New Mexico and Fresno State. SDSU also maintained the upper hand in its lone encounter with San José State, but came out on the wrong side of standings in two of three tournaments competing against UNLV. Conversely, the Scarlet and Black has not faced Colorado State, Nevada, Wyoming or Boise State.

Individually, six of the top-15 finishers return from last year’s conference championship, including SDSU’s Fernanda Escauriza, who captured medalist honors, while San José State’s Abegail Arevalo landed three shots behind in the third spot, followed by UNLV’s Elizabeth Prior, who tied for fourth. Fellow Rebel teammate Mackenzie Raim (12th) is also back in the mix, along with New Mexico’s Ingrid Gutierrez (T-13th) and Colorado State’s Katrina Prendergast (T-15th).

UNLV freshman Polly Mack, who enters the week as the top-ranked golfer in the MW is also expected to contend, along with teammate Nastasia Kossacky, the Aztecs’ Sara Kjellker, Gioia Carpinelli and Mila Chaves, Fresno State’s Mimi Ho and Brigitte Thibault, SJSU’s Alexandra Cooper and Franziska Friedrich, as well as UNM’s Darian Zachek and CSU’s Ellen Secor, all of whom are among the league’s top 20 players in Golfstat’s head-to-head rankings.

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