Sept. 15, 2002
The 19th/21st ranked University of Tennessee Lady Vol golf squad captured its first season-opening tournament title since 1996, when the Big Orange brought home the Lady Tar Heel Invitational crown, by dominating the 16-team field at the weather-marred Lady Kay Invitational in Lexington, Ky. The orange-clad golfers build upon a solid first round 2-over 290 by carding a second-round 314 to hold off a frenetic charge by South Florida that moved into second place with a second day 302. SEC foes Mississippi State and Kentucky, represented by its Blue team, rounded out the top three with two-round 614s.
After finishing the first nine holes of the third round, play was again suspended and eventually halted due to inclement weather. The stormy conditions forced tournament officials to call the tourney, thus leaving the second round results as final results for the 2002 Lady Kat.
Freshman phenom Violeta Retamoza (Aquascalientes, Mexico) demonstrated uncommon mental strength to fight through the conditions and fire a two-day even-par 144 (70-74), tied for 10th-best in UT history, to clinch the tourney title as an individual competitor.
"I'm excited that Violeta picked up the win." Head Coach Judi Pavon said. "The tournament helped build not only her confidence but our team strength as her score will count toward the team total when she is part of the team at the Mason Rudolph."
Team captain Jessica Shepley (Oakville, Ontario) fired a career-best 1-over 145 to pace UT's fivesome
and finish tied with Kentucky's Kelly Anders for second place, which also ranks as a career watershed for
Shepley. Junior Tai Perry (Unionville, Pa.) carded a two-day 9-over 153 to tie Penn State's Megan Mull
for 15th. Fellow junior Mary Jan Fernandez (Henderson, Nev.) tied for 17th with a 10-over 154 total.
One shot behind Fernandez, Golda Johansson (Lund, Sweden) carded an 11-over 155 to place 20th in
the initial tourney of her college career. Rounding out the Big Orange's season-opener is sophomore
Ryan Kirk (Hixson, Tenn.) who finished a career-best 43rd-place by firing a 161.
"I'm thrilled with the early win in the season." Pavon said. "Although, I'm disappointed that we didn't get the opportunity to prove that we deserved a three-round title as we were playing well during the first nine hole of the third round."
The Lady Vol golf squad continues its season Monday, Sept. 23 when the Big Orange travels to Nashville for the Mason Rudolph.
|TOP FIVE TEAM STANDINGS|
|1.||Violeta Retamoza *||70-74=144|
|t17||Mary Jan Fernandez||73-81=154|
* = playing as an individual