New Mexico will play host to some of the best teams of the country in the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational, which opens on Monday morning.
Despite heavy competition, head coach Jill Trujillo has no shortage of expectations for her team, and expects to hoist the trophy in her four seniors’ final tournament at home.
“The hardest thing about our golf course are the greens just because of the slight breaks and undulations. They can be really tricky,” Trujillo said. “The fact that we get to play on them day in and day out, it’s a huge advantage for us.”
Four senior players will be competing at the UNM South Course for the final time in New Mexico uniforms, something Trujillo said is going to be bittersweet for her departing quartet of golfers.
However, senior Manon Mollé said she is not going to let the emotions of her final home tournament get in the way of her high standards. She said the team knows the ins and outs of the course, and will be able to use it to their advantages.
Even in the situation that UNM doesn’t having its best day as a whole, the Lobos have practiced many of the unique and unfortunate shots that might occur.
“We know every single part of the course, we really do,” Mollé said. “Even on a bad day, or a good day, there’s always a spot where we land and where we’re like, ‘Oh, I’ve never been here,’ so we can practice more.”
Mollé has received an abundance of accolades leading up to her final year of eligibility, none larger than being the 2015 Mountain West Individual Champion. However, Mollé has looked past the award, and would like to add one of the longest female golfing tournament trophies to her mantle.
The Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational first began in 1956, combined with the men’s golf tournament. Eventually, the two were no longer in conjunction with one another, once the popularity in each of them had grown.
“It’s a really personal goal, and I feel like since I am going to turn pro in a year. I feel like it well help me to be more confident in myself and with my game too,” Mollé said. “Being here and representing the Lobos at the home tournament and hometown for this tournament will be just awesome. It’s like a victory with a trophy, but also a victory for myself.”
Dick McGuire said he is pleased to have started such a sustainable and high profile tournament across the nation.
“I’m glad to see that it’s grown, and it’s popular and well known around the country,” McGuire said.
He said that he initially created the tournament as a way to prepare the New Mexico team he was coaching for for the NCAA tournament. McGuire wanted other schools and teams to pick up on that and create more tournaments around the nation.
The tournament he created did just that.
“When I first started coaching, there weren’t any tournaments for teams. There were nationals and that was about it,” McGuire said. “I felt that the first thing I wanted to do was start tournaments. So I started men’s tournaments and women’s tournaments. We started out by having them together.”
Trujillo and Mollé both said the 38th edition of the annual women’s tournament is going to feature some of the best golfers in the nation, but the bar is not lowered for what they would like to accomplish.
“I always expect that we’ll win. I think if we have a top-5 finish here, it will be a good finish,” Trujillo said. “But we always want to win, especially since it’s our home tournament.”
Liam Cary-Eaves is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers volleyball, women’s basketball and baseball. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Liam_CE.