HALFWAY HOME: The James Madison women's golf team will begin the second half of its 2010-11 spring season with a trip to Stockbridge, Ga. for the John Kirk/Panther Intercollegiate.
The tournament, hosted by Georgia State University, is a two-day, 54-hole event played at Eagle's Landing Country, March 21-22. The teams will play the first 36 holes on the first day of the tournament, Mon. March 21, before playing the final round the following morning. All rounds will begin with a shotgun start.
The Dukes last played in this tournament in the spring of 2009, when they carded a 941 and placed 12th out of 13 teams.
PLAYING THE GOOD HOST: James Madison University's women's golf team struggled in the final round and finished in a tie for 11th at the JMU/Eagle Landing Invitational, March 11-13. Hosted by the Dukes, the three-day, 54-hole tournament was played at Eagle Landing Golf Club (Par 72 - 6,282 yards) in Orange Park, Fla.
Madison struggled in its final round and posted a 19-over 307 to finish at 56-over 920 in a tie with Florida Gulf Coast. Chattanooga led wire-to-wire in putting forth a tournament record 5-under 859, including another tournament record in the final round with a 10-under 278, to win by 33 shots over runner-up East Carolina at 28-over 892. Campbell was third at 30-over 894, with South Florida and Miami tying for fourth at 39-over 903.
The Dukes were led by freshman Ginger Mak (North Point, Hong Kong/The International School of Macao), who posted her second top-20 finish of the season with a tie for 17th at 8-over 224, including a team-best 2-over 74 in the final round. Redshirt senior Mary Chamberlain (Dennis, Mass./Suffield Academy) was next in a tie for 37th at 13-over 229, while junior Nicole Sakamoto (Honolulu, Hawaii/Kalani) finished in a tie for 46th at 15-over 231.
A pair of JMU individuals were next as junior Valentina Sanmiguel (Bogota, Colombia/Gimasio La Montana) tied for 62nd at 20-over 236 and senior Catrin Gunnarsson (Bankeryd, Sweden/Sanda Gymnasiet) tied for 73rd at 22-over 238. Senior Laura Mesa (Manizales, Colombia/Colegio Granadino) tied for 77th at 24-over 240, with freshman Sara Stanley (Chantilly, Va./Westfield) wrapping up the Dukes' efforts in a tie for 90th at 29-over 245.
Chattanooga had a 1-2 finish individually with Christine Wolf setting her second tournament record with a 54-hole score of 7-under 209, four shots better than teammate Emma de Groot.
TOUGH COMPETITION IN GAINESVILLE: The James Madison women's golf team finished 14th at the 2011 SunTrust Gator Women's Invitational, the same position in which it began the final round. The two-day, 54-hole tournament was hosted by the University of Florida at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainseville, Fla., March 6-7
The Dukes combined to shoot a 38-over 318 in their final round to finish the two-day event at 97-over 937, nine strokes behind 13th-place Georgia State. Florida continued its home-course domination, turning in the lowest score in all three rounds to finish at 25-over 865, 18 strokes ahead of runner-up Florida State and 30 strokes in front of third-place Ohio State.
Florida State's Hannah Thomson fired her second 1-under 69 of the tournament to capture the individual title with a final score of even-par 210. Thomson finished two strokes in front of runner-up Vicky Villanueva of Ohio State and six shots ahead of third-place Emma de Groot from Chattanooga.
Freshman Ginger Mak (North Point, Hong Kong/The International School of Macao) led the Dukes with a consistent tournament with all three rounds in the 70s, shooting a 7-over 77 in her final round to finish at 21-over 231 in a tie for 43rd. Junior Nicole Sakamoto (Honolulu, Hawaii/Kalani) fired a 14-over 84 to drop into a tie for 51st, finishing her tournament with a 23-over 233.
Seniors Mary Chamberlain (Dennis, Mass./Suffield Academy) and Laura Mesa (Manizales, Columbia/Colegio Granadino) each shot 9-over 79 in their final rounds. Chamberlain finished at 25-over 235 in a tie for 58th and Mesa was tied for 74th after finishing at 30-over 240. Senior Catrin Gunnarson (Bankeryd, Sweden/Sanda Gymnasiet) was the final golfer to play for JMU, finishing at 33-over 243 in a tie for 80th.
COACH GOODEN WEIGHS IN: When asked about the latest tournaments, 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."
THREE SENIOR REACH CAREER MILESTONE: By playing in both spring break tournaments, three of the Dukes' seniors surpassed the 100-round mark for their career. Mary Chamberlain (Dennis, Mass./Suffield Academy) leads the trio 105 career rounds, Catrin Gunnarson (Bankeryd, Sweden/Sanda Gymnasiet) has 104 over her four years and Laura Mesa (Manizales, Columbia/Colegio Granadino) now has 103.
The three seniors rank sixth through eighth on JMU's all-time list. Carol Green owns the program record with 126 career rounds.
MAK HAVING TOP-10 SEASON: Freshman Ginger Mak's (Hong Kong, China) consistent play has put her on pace to claim a spot in program history. Mak's season average after the JMU/Eagle Landing Invitational stands at 76.35, good for sixth-place all-time at JMU for a single season.
Two current Dukes have seasons that rank ahead of Mak as of right now. Junior Nicole Sakamoto (Honolulu, Hawaii/Kalani) tops the all-time list with an average of 74.97 in 2009-10, while senior Mary Chamberlain (Dennis, Mass./Suffield Academy) averaged 76.27 the same season, good for fifth on the list.
STARTING THE SEASON RIGHT: 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).
ALL-TIME LEADERS DOT TOURNAMENT ROSTER: 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 76.84 through 80 career rounds.
Senior Laura Mesa (Manizales, Colombia/Colegio Granadino) edges into sixth place with an average of 78.23 through 103 rounds, narrowly edging out fellow senior Mary Chamberlain (Dennis, Mass./Suffield Academy), who owns a 78.79 average after 99 career rounds. Junior Valentina Sanmiguel (Bogota, Colombia/Gimasio La Montana) also checks in at ninth place with a 79.06 average through 63 career rounds.
KIAWAH ISLAND PERFORMANCES MAKE ALL-TIME LISTS: 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, February 20, was 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.
FALL IN REVIEW: 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.
RETURNING ALL-CAA GOLFERS: 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.
SAKAMOTO CAPTURES HAWAII STROKE PLAY TITLE: 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.
A VETERAN LINEUP DOTS THE 2010-11 SQUAD: 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: 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.