GLORY'S LAST SHOT: The James Madison women's golf team will travel to the storied Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, N.C. to play in the CAA Women's Golf Championship, April 22-24. The tournament is a three-day, 54-hole event played on the Pinehurst No. 6 course.
Currently, the Dukes will enter their final guaranteed tournament ranked second in the conference with an adjusted scoring average less than half a stroke higher than top-seeded and two-time defending champion Georgia State. Freshman Ginger Mak (North Point, Hong Kong/The International School of Macao) is ranked fourth going into the tournament with a 30-3 conference record thus far. Redshirt senior Mary Chamberlain (Dennis, Mass./Suffield Academy) is seeded eighth and junior Nicole Sakamoto (Honolulu, Hawaii/Kalani) is ninth with 26-7 and 25-8 conference records, respectively.
JMU used a 68-over 932 to grab runner-up honors at last year's conference championship, its best finish since 2005, when the Dukes won the last of three consecutive CAA titles. As a sophomore last year, Sakamoto fired an 11-over 227 to grab runner-up honors, while then-junior Catrin Gunnarsson (Bankeryd, Sweden/Sanda Gymnasiet) finished at 13-over 229 to tie for fourth. Both were named to the All-Tournament Team.
BATTLING THE ELEMENTS: The James Madison women's golf team finished at 47-over 623 and in sole possession of fourth, the team's second consecutive top-5 finish, after morning thunderstorms forced the cancellation of Tuesday's final round at the 2011 UNCW Lady Seahawk Classic. The tournament, hosted by UNC Wilmington, was played at the River Landing Golf Course (par 72/6,011 yards) in Wallace, N.C., April 4-5
After shooting a first-round 27-over 315, the Dukes improved more than any other team on their way to a second-round 20-over 308. JMU finished just one stroke behind third-place Elon. East Carolina shot a six-over 294 in the first round en route to a 27-over 603 and a 13-stroke victory over second-place Old Dominion.
Senior Catrin Gunnarsson (Bankeryd, Sweden/Sanda Gymnasiet) led the way for the Dukes with back-to-back rounds of 3-over 75, besting her season low for 36 holes by seven strokes, to finish tied for second with Old Dominion's Elizabeth Haycock at 6-over 150. The pair was just two strokes behind East Carolina's Fanny Wolte, the individual champion at 4-over 148. It was Gunnarsson's first top-five finish of the season and the second of her career.
Freshman Ginger Mak (North Point, Hong Kong/The International School of Macao) was next for the Dukes, recovering from an 8-over 80 in her first round to finish at 11-over 155 and tie for ninth place with Elon's Tara McFadden. It was Mak's first collegiate top-10 finish. Junior Nicole Sakamoto (Honolulu, Hawaii/Kalani) was just one stroke behind at 12-over 156 and in sole possession of 11th place.
Senior Laura Mesa (Manizales, Columbia/Colegio Granadino) shot a 9-over 81 in both her rounds to finish at 18-over 162 and in a tie for 34th. Senior Mary Chamberlain (Dennis, Mass./Suffield Academy) was the final scoring Duke, carding a 20-over 164 to finish tied for 44th.
Playing as an individual, junior Valentina Sanmiguel (Bogota, Colombia/Gimasio La Montana) shot 21-over 165 in her two rounds to claim sole possession of 46th place.
GUNNARSSON GRABS WEEKLY HONORS: Senior Catrin Gunnarsson's (Bankeryd, Sweden/Sanda Gymnasiet) runner-up performance at the UNCW Lady Seahawk Classic was not just the best finish of her career, it also earned Gunnarsson her first-ever CAA Women's Golfer of the Week award.
"I think Catrin played fabulous on Monday, considering how windy of a day it was," JMU Head Coach Paul Gooden said upon hearing of the award. "She just grinded it out the whole time, and to shoot 75-75 in those conditions while sewing up her spot to play in the conference championships is very impressive."
Gunnarsson's runner-up finish was the first top-five finish of the 2010-11 season for any JMU golfer. She tied for second with Old Dominion freshman Elizabeth Haycock, who shot identical rounds of 3-over 75 and shared the weekly award with Gunnarsson.
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 John Kirk/Panther Intercollegiate stands at 76.30, currently the sixth-lowest all-time average at JMU for a single season and the lowest ever for a freshman.
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, her sophomore season, while then-junior Mary Chamberlain (Dennis, Mass./Suffield Academy) averaged 76.27 the same season, good for fifth on the list.
CLIMBING THE RECORD BOOKS: After their performance at the UNCW Lady Seahawk Classic, the Dukes sit in third place on the program's all-time list for team single-season scoring average at 309.00 through 25 rounds. Only 2003-04 (307.03/33 rounds) and 2009-10 (306.37/30 rounds) sit in front of this season.
Junior Nicole Sakamoto (Honolulu, Hawaii/Kalani) has also climbed into a prestigious group, as her scoring average this season of 77.12 in 25 rounds puts her 10th in program history. It is her second entry in the top-10 all-time list, joining Jessica Lewis and Jayme Langford as the only golfers with two seasons in the top ten.
ALL-TIME LEADERS DOT TOURNAMENT ROSTER: Of the Dukes on the roster this year, five rank within the top 11 spots in career scoring average in program history. Junior Nicole Sakamoto (Honolulu, Hawaii/Kalani) tops the list with a program-best scoring average of 76.76 through 85 career rounds.
Senior Laura Mesa (Manizales, Colombia/Colegio Granadino) sneaks into sixth place with an average of 78.29 through 105 rounds, narrowly edging out fellow senior Mary Chamberlain (Dennis, Mass./Suffield Academy), who owns a 78.79 average after 110 career rounds. Junior Valentina Sanmiguel (Bogota, Colombia/Gimasio La Montana) checks in at 10th place with a 79.26 average through 68 career rounds, while senior Catrin Gunnarson
(Bankeryd, Sweden/Sanda Gymnasiet) is just behind with a 79.27 average through 109 rounds.
THREE SENIORS REACH CAREER MILESTONE: After 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) currently leads the trio with 110 career rounds, Catrin Gunnarsson (Bankeryd, Sweden/Sanda Gymnasiet) has 109 over her four years and Laura Mesa (Manizales, Columbia/Colegio Granadino) now has 105.
Chamberlain and Gunnarsson have jumped into fifth and a tie for sixth place, respectively, while Mesa remains in eighth place on the all-time list. Carol Green owns the program record with 126 career rounds.
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.
TOP-FIVE FINISH IN GEORGIA: The James Madison women's golf team shot a 22-over 310 in Tuesday's final round to finish in fifth place at the 2011 John Kirk/Panther Intercollegiate, March 21-22. The two-day, 54-hole event was hosted by Georgia State University at Eagle's Landing Golf Club in Stockbridge, Ga.
JMU finished at 49-over 913, four strokes behind fourth-place Daytona State and three ahead of sixth-place Michigan. Notre Dame continued their start-to-finish dominance, shooting a 9-over 297 to finish 17 strokes ahead of runner-up Maryland. All four teams that finished ahead of the Dukes shot under 300 for their final round.
Junior Nicole Sakamoto (Honolulu, Hawaii/Kalani) grabbed her second top-10 finish of the year by shooting a 3-over 75 in her final round to finish at 6-over 222 and in a tie for seventh. Freshman Ginger Mak (North Point, Hong Kong/The International School of Macao) finished in a tie for 20th, the third top-20 finish of her collegiate career, after shooting an 8-over 80 to finish at 12-over 228 for the tournament.
Senior Mary Chamberlain (Dennis, Mass./Suffield Academy) was next for the Dukes, dropping a stroke from her first and second rounds to shoot a 4-over 76 and finish tied for 28th at 14-over 230. Senior Catrin Gunnarson (Bankeryd, Sweden/Sanda Gymnasiet) shot a 7-over 79 to finish in a tie for 46th at 21-over 237, while junior Valentina Sanmiguel
Mitsuki Katahira of Daytona State shot a 6-under 66 in her final round, a new single-round tournament record, to finish as the top individual at 6-under 210. Katahira finished one stroke ahead of runner-up Becca Huffer of Notre Dame and three ahead of third-place Jessie Hollandsworth of Maryland. Nina Muehl of East Tennessee State matched Katahira's 66 to tie the new tournament record en route to finishing fourth at 2-under 214.
(Bogota, Colombia/Gimasio La Montana) was the final scorer for the Dukes, shooting an 11-over 83 in her final round to finish at 28-over 244 in a tie for 65th.
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).
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.
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).
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.