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Merch Madness
Courtesy:JMUSports.com Release:02/16/2011
Courtesy: JMUSports.com

KICKING OFF 2011: The James Madison women's golf team will begin its 2010-11 spring season at the Edwin Watts/Kiawah Island Classic, Feb. 20-22, 2011, in Kiawah Island, S.C. The tournament, hosted by the College of Charleston, is a three-day, 54-hole event played on two courses at Kiawah Island Resort--the Cougar Point Golf Course (Par 72 / 6,001 yards) and the Oak Point Golf Course (Par 72 / 5,907 yards).

: The Dukes have a full slate of tournaments this spring, with at least six tournaments on the horizon, including three during the month of March. After the season-opener in Kiawah Island, JMU will play three tournaments in 17 days as it travels to Gainesville, Fla., Mar. 6-7 for the SunTrust Gator Invitational, hosts the JMU/Eagle Landing Invitational in Jacksonville, Fla., Mar. 11-13, and plays in the John Kirk/Panther Intercollegiate in Stockbridge, Ga., Mar. 21-22. The Dukes will then head to Wallace, N.C., for the UNCW Lady Seahawk Classic, Apr. 4-5 before traveling to storied Pinehurst, N.C., for the CAA Women's Golf Championship, Apr. 22-24.

When asked about the upcoming spring season, Head Coach Paul Gooden was optimistic. "We are having a terrific start to our season," Gooden said. "Attitudes are good and all the girls are working very hard."
     According to Gooden, most of the season will be focused on peaking at the CAA Championship, Apr. 22-24. "Yes, we want to play well in each tournament, but we're working on getting better," Gooden said. "We're gaining more confidence through playing in each of these earlier events."

In their final fall tournament, the Dukes fired a final round of 308, good for third-best of the day, to move up three spots and finish in eighth place  out of 17 teams in the 2010 Lady Paladin Invitational at the Furman University Golf Course in Greenville, S.C., Oct. 29-31.
      JMU finished the tournament with a score of 952 (316-328-308). Chatanooga shot a 915 (305-308-302) to take first place by 14 strokes over second-place Georgia State's 929 (302-320-307).
      Leading the way for the Dukes were junior Nicole Sakamoto (Honolulu, Hawaii/Kalani) and freshman Ginger Mak (Hong Kong, China). Sakamoto, a First-Team All-CAA selection last spring, carded a 15-over 231 (76-77-78) to finish in a tie for eighth, her first top-10 finish of the year. Mak recorded a final-round 73, tied for the best of the day, to finish with a 16-over 232 (81-78-73) in 13th place.
      Senior Laura Mesa (Manizales, Colombia/Colegio Granadino) was next in 59th at 246, one shot ahead of junior teammate Catrin Gunnarsson (Bankeryd, Sweden/Sanda Gymnasiet) in a tie for 60th at 247. Freshman teammate Sara Stanley (Chantilly, Va./Westfield) finished out the team scoring in a tie for 76th at 253.
      Playing as an individual, senior Mary Chamberlain (Dennis, Mass./Suffield Academy) tied for 34th at 239.

The fall of 2010 was a season of experimenting for the Dukes, as Head Coach Paul Gooden used three different lineups over the course of four tournaments. Only junior Nicole Sakamoto and senior Catrin Gunnarson played every round for JMU.
      While the Dukes did not finish better than eighth in any of their four fall tournaments, all seven members of the team finished the fall with a scoring average of 80.1 or below. All seven Dukes also recorded at least one round of 75 or lower.
      Freshman Ginger Mak led the Dukes in scoring average in her first collegiate season, carding a 76.9 average in eight rounds played this past fall. Mak was also the only Duke to fire a 73 on two occasions, doing so once in the first round of the Mercedes-Benz Women's Collegiate Championship in Knoxville, Tenn., and then again in the final round of the season at the Lady Paladin Invitational in Greenville, S.C.
      Sakamoto also continued her solid play from the 2009-10 season, finishing the fall just behind Mak with a 77.3 average over four tournaments. Her career average rose slightly to 76.7, but remains the lowest on the team as of the end of the fall season. Sakamoto also recorded her first top-10 finish of the 2010-11 season, and the only one of the fall for the Dukes, by firing a 231 (76-77-78) at the Lady Paladin Invitational to tie for eighth.

James Madison returns two All-CAA golfers from the 2009-10 season in junior Nicole Sakamoto (Honolulu, Hawaii/Kalani) and senior Catrin Gunnarsson (Bankeryd, Sweden/Sanda Gymnasiet). There is also a third All-CAA golfer in the lineup as redshirt-senior Mary Chamberlain (Dennis, Mass./Suffield Academy) earned the honor in 2008-09.

JMU opened its new outdoor short-game practice facility this fall. The facility includes designated chipping and putting greens, with fairway, rough and sand traps for practice. This facility adds to the indoor practice facility, with video replay/analysis capabilities, and both programs receiving new locker room space in Godwin Hall.

Rising junior Nicole Sakamoto (Honolulu, Hawaii/Kalani) continued her solid play from the 2009-10 collegiate season and captured the 2010 Hawaii State Women's Stroke Play Championship this past summer at Mid-Pacific Country Club in Kailua, Hawaii. Sakamoto won the tournament by five shots with a 54-hole total of 3-over 219, five shots better than Mariel Galdiano at 224.
      A native of Honolulu, Sakamoto was steady throughout the tournament, including shooting an even-par 72 in the final round to take her first major Hawaii women's title. The three-day total was the lowest winning score in five years and ended a streak of a combined five top-five finishes in the tournament and the Jennie K. without a win, as well as her 2008 loss in the final of the state Women's Match Play Championship.
     Sakamoto entered the final round trailing Galdiano by four shots, but Sakamoto tied for the low final round with her 72, while the youngster faded down the stretch to shoot 81 and finish as runner-up at 8-over 224.

Senior women's golfer Mary Chamberlain (Dennis, Mass./Suffield Academy) was named to the 2010 National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) All-American Scholar Team, as announced by the organization. She was among 494 women's collegiate golfers at the Division I, II & III levels honored with this award for their work in the classroom and on the course.
      After missing most of the 2008-09 season, Chamberlain bounced back to play in all 11 Madison tournaments, finishing second on the team with a 76.3 stroke average in 30 rounds played, earning a place on the All-Colonial Athletic Assocation second team.  She carded six rounds below 75, including shooting a career-low 70 twice.  She finished in the top five three times and in the top 20 six times, including a season-best tie for second at Tina Barrett Invitational in April. She also placed sixth at the 2010 CAA Championship, finishing at 232, to help the Dukes to a runner-up team finish.
      Entering her final season with the Dukes, Chamberlain carries a 3.52 cumulative GPA.  She is a Justice Studies major with a concentration in Criminology.

The Dukes return all five starters from last year's CAA Championships to this year's squad. The team is led by 2010 All-CAA honorees junior Nicole Sakamoto (Honolulu, Hawaii/Kalani) and senior Catrin Gunnarsson (Bankeryd, Sweden/Sanda Gymnasiet), as well as seniors Mary Chamberlain (Dennis, Mass./Suffield Academy) and Laura Mesa (Manizales, Colombia/Colegio Granadino) and junior Valentina Sanmiguel (Bogota, Colombia/Gimasio La Montana). They will be pushed for spots in the lineup by two freshman in Ginger Mak (Hong Kong, China) and Sara Stanley (Chantilly, Va./Westfield).
      The team is also a blend of international flavor, with three Americans (Chamberlain, Sakamoto and Stanley) alongside two South Americans (Mesa and Sanmiguel), one European  (Gunnarsson) and one Asian (Mak)

Head Coach Paul Gooden is starting his 12th season as the women's golf head coach of the Dukes. During his tenure as head coach, Madison has captured three Colonial Athletic Association Championships and earned a team berth in the 2005 NCAA East Regional. This past season, one of his golfers, Nicole Sakamoto, became the first JMU golfer to earn two individual berths to the NCAA Regionals.

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