John Denton's Knights Insider: Women's Golf Ready To Take Off

Feb. 20, 2010

By John Denton

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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - When the UCF women's golf team won the Hurricane Invitational earlier this week it was the program's first tournament championship in seven years. But as delighted as coach Courtney Trimble was with the landmark victory, she was even more focused on the future affect the victory will have on the program.

And with a talented group of young players on the UCF squad, that future is undoubtedly brighter than ever.

``Now they know what it feels like to win and they'll want it again. Now they have a little taste and I want them to remember what it feels like next time out,'' Trimble said. ``I think that we have a good chance to contend for the rest of the tournaments that we're playing in. We'll see, but I know how capable our team is. I'm not putting any limits on anything that this team can do.''

The hopes seem limitless after the Knights got contributions from all over the roster to win the Hurricane Invitational at the Don Shula Resort in Miami Lakes by one shot over Georgia State. The Knights easily outplayed other powerhouse programs such as Miami and South Florida, and their score of 894 was the second best tournament mark in school history.

That UCF's women's team won its first tournament since 2002 and it's first event that it didn't host since 2000 was impressive enough. But the fact that UCF clawed back from 15 strokes down and a ninth place start after one round made the feat even more impressive.

Trimble said plenty of hard work and a little bit of luck conspired to help the Knights make early progress.

``Fortunately we've been one of the few teams that has been able to practice because of the weather. That helped a lot because we've been working really hard,'' Trimble said. ``We tried to use that as an advantage - that we were the most prepared team out there and it worked out.''

UCF was in position to win because of the play of fabulous freshmen Carolin Pinegger and Valentina Fontaine, who both tied for seventh overall in the tournament at plus-seven. Pinegger, who was named Conference USA's Female Golfer of the Week recently, fired a closing-round three-under-par, 69 - three shots better than any round in her life to key UCF's victory. She got progressively better with each round of play, going from an 80 to a 74 to a 69. Her birdie on the final hole allowed her to shoot the low round for the entire tournament by any player.

``It was incredible because she struggled the first day, but then she got better and then (in the final round) she put it all together,'' Trimble said. ``She has worked really hard to get there and she was really good.''

Fontaine, whose biggest strength as a golfer is her ability to shape shots and play with great consistency, shot a 72 in the final round and has been at par or better in five of her 12 collegiate rounds. She registered a top-10 finish for the third time in five college tournaments.

Katie Detlefsen finished 20th for her second top-20 finish, while Victoria Tomko, one of just two upperclassmen on the roster, was tied for 34th place. And sophomore Elisa Aoki's final-round 72 played a big role in UCF's win.

UCF completes against in the UCF Challenge on March 1-2 at RedTail Golf Club in Sorrento, and Trimble is eager to see what effects success has had on her team.

``I'm just so proud of them, but now we've got to keep it going,'' the coach said.


John Denton's Knights Insider appears on UCFathletics.com several times a week. E-mail John at jdenton@athletics.ucf.edu.