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Merch Madness
Courtesy:JMUSports.com Release:03/02/2011
Courtesy: JMUSports.com
SOUTH FOR SPRING BREAK: The James Madison women's golf team will continue its 2010-11 spring season with a trip south for a pair of tournaments during the University's week-long Spring Break.
      The first tournament, hosted by the University of Florida, is a two-day, 54-hole event played at the Mark Bostick Golf Course, March 6-7 on the campus of University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla. The teams will play the first 36 holes on the first day of the tournament, Mon. March 6, before playing the final round the following morning.
      In their second tournament of the week, the Dukes will host the JMU/Eagle Landing Invitational at Eagle Landing Golf Club, March 11-13 in Jacksonville, Fla. Besides JMU, 17 teams will participate in the three-day, 54-hole event. This is the third year of the tournament and the field has grown every season.

In their first tournament of the spring, the Dukes sat atop the leaderboard after a first-round 296, their best round of the season, before fading slightly to finish in 10th place  out of 33 teams at the 2011 Kiawah Island Intercollegiate at the Cougar Point and Oak Point Golf Courses in Kiawah Island, S.C., Feb. 20-22.
      JMU finished the tournament with a score of 916 (296-315-305), just one stroke behind ninth-place Elon and two behind eighth-place Central Arkansas. Miami shot a 888 (296-297-295) to win by nine strokes over runner-up Campbell's 897 (299-301-297).
      Leading the way for the Dukes was senior Mary Chamberlain (Dennis, Mass./Suffield Academy), who fired a career-best 3-under 69 to hold a share of the first-day lead before finishing in a tie for 19th at 9-over 225 (69-78-78). It was the first top-20 finish for a JMU golfer in the spring season. Freshman Ginger Mak (Hong Kong, China) played consistently all weekend, finishing tied for 33rd with a 12-over 228 (76-74-78).
      Senior Laura Mesa (Manizales, Colombia/Colegio Granadino) was next in a tie for 39th at 14-over 230 (75-81-74), while senior teammate Nicole Sakamoto (Honolulu, Hawaii/Kalani) recovered from a difficult second round to finish tied for 76th at 20-over 236 (76-85-75). Junior Valentina Sanmiguel (Bogota, Colombia/Gimasio La Montana) finished out the team scoring in a tie for 104th at 26-over 242 (76-82-84).

When asked about the first tournament of the spring season, Head Coach Paul Gooden was optimistic. "I'm very proud of my girls," Gooden said. "We're going to be just fine."
      According to Gooden, the area of emphasis for the team right now is the mental aspects of the game. "We're reallly stressing confidence and self-talk," Gooden said. "We don't ever want to be scared of failure or doing something wrong. Our team goal is to win the conference championship and everything leading up to that is a learning experience."

Besides being the best round of her career, the 3-under 69 shot by senior Mary Chamberlain (Dennis, Mass./Suffield Academy) in the first round of the Kiawah Island Classic is tied for the fourth-best round in program history.
      The team's 8-over 296 effort in the first round was the 11th-best gross round in program history and the ninth-best in relation to par.

Of the five Dukes that played last weekend at the Kiawah Island Classic, four of them rank within the top nine spots in career scoring average in program history. Junior Nicole Sakamoto (Honolulu, Hawaii/Kalani) tops the list with a program-best scoring average of 76.80 through 74 career rounds.
      With her performance this weekend, senior Mary Chamberlain (Dennis, Mass./Suffield Academy) edged into sixth place with an average of 78.09 through 99 rounds, narrowly edging out fellow senior Laura Mesa (Manizales, Colombia/Colegio Granadino), who owns a 78.12 average after 97 career rounds. Junior Valentina Sanmiguel (Bogota, Colombia/Gimasio La Montana) also checks in at ninth place with a 79.08 average through 60 career rounds.
: The Dukes have a full slate of tournaments this spring, with at least five more tournaments on the horizon, including three during the month of March. In the coming weeks, 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.

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.

NEW PRACTICE FACILITY EXPANDS: 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 spring, the facility will see various improvements, including reformed  tee boxes and a 30-yard lengthening of the hitting range, allowing for the practice of drives off the tee.
     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
     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.
(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.

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) along side 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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