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Lobo women open golf season by hosting Invitational

University of New Mexico women’s golf coach Jill Trujillo is extremely disappointed by one thing heading into Monday’s 54-hole season-opening event at the UNM Championship Golf Course.

But she is more than delighted to get the season rolling – a season that she is very confident will lead to big things for her Lobos.

“We’re not ranked now, but I think we’re going to surprise some people,” Trujillo told the Journal. “I feel very good about that; we will surprise a lot of teams this year.”

Maybe starting Monday, when the Lobos host the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational.

The Lobos are one of 18 teams in a field that includes defending national champion Stanford and nine of the nation’s top 30 squads, according to Golfweek.

The Lobos are led by defending Mountain West Conference individual champion Manon Mollé.

“She’s ready to go. The whole team is,” Trujillo said.

“Well, almost.”

One player not in the Lobos’ starting lineup is Darian Zachek. Trujillo said the freshman from Deming won a spot in the starting five, but has been battling a bout of mononucleosis and won’t play.

“She’s heartbroken,” Trujillo said. “We are all. I’m so disappointed for her, because she wanted so badly to make her college debut on this course.”

Zachek was to be the No. 5 player on the squad, but freshman Sol Lee will instead take that spot.

The other Lobos are junior Mollé, sophomores Ingrid Gutierrez and Alexandra Moisand and freshman Eva Saulnier.

The rest of the McGuire Invitational field includes the University of California-Davis, California State Fullerton, Denver, Gonzaga, Iowa State, Miami, UNLV, Northwestern, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Oregon State, Pepperdine, San Diego State, UTEP, Washington State and Stanford.

Northwestern, ranked 12th in the preseason, won the McGuire last year. Stanford is ranked No. 2.

“It’s a great field,” Trujillo said. “And our girls are so excited to get started again. They all had great summers after shooting that 10-under round in the final round of the Mountain West last spring. That really got them gung-ho, and they’ve been working so hard.

“They practice all the time and have such great attitudes. You never hear complaints from any of them. They are just great girls. And they are going to take the course with a purpose.”

There are two rounds Monday and one Tuesday. There is a shotgun start – meaning all teams tee off at the same time – in each round.