UVa Women's Golf Signing Class Includes Three Top Junior Players
Charlottesville, VA – Virginia women’s golf coach Kim Lewellen announced the signing of a three-player class today that includes Lauren Coughlin of Chesapeake, Va., Briana Mao of Folsom, Calif., and Kaira Martin of Paradise Valley, Ariz. The trio will be freshmen at UVa this fall.
“To contend for conference and national titles year in and year out you must find quality competitors,” Lewellen said. “In a situation like ours, when we graduate players who are All-Americans, it is essential to bring in All-American caliber athletes. I believe this is exactly what we are getting in this 2011 class with Brianna Mao, Kaira Martin and Lauren Coughlin. Brianna and Kaira are two of the top ranked juniors in the country with games and levels of experience that will lend to immediate success and impact within our program.
“Lauren is the top ranked junior in the state of Virginia. She has shot a number of low scores and is loaded with talent. I look forward to seeing just how good these players will become. All three of these ladies are not only outstanding golfers but also quality students and individuals; I believe them to be invaluable additions to our program.”
Since 2005 Martin has won six tournament championships including four AJGA titles and posted 10 top-10 finishes at AJGA events. In 2009 and 2010 she was first at the AJGA’s Midwest Juniors Championship. She took top honors at the 2008 Arizona State Women’s Amateur Stroke Play Championships. In 2009 she won the Arizona 5A High School title.
Martin is a two-time AJGA Rolex Junior honorable mention All-American and has also been honored twice as an All-American by the National High School Golf Coaches Association. She is ranked the No. 9 player in the 2011 class according to Junior Golf Scoreboard, is 12th in the AJGA Polo Rankings and ranked the No. 34 junior in the nation by Golfweek.
Earlier this year Martin was selected to represent the United States in the 2010 Aaron Baddeley International Junior Championship in China.
While competing at Xavier Prep she was named the 2009 Arizona State High School Girls Golfer of the Year. That year she set the all-time Arizona 5A tournament scoring record by shooting 11-under 133. She helped her team set the all-time national high school unbeaten streak during her career at Xavier Prep. Between 1996 and 2009 the team won 145 consecutive matches. She earned all-state honors in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Mao is ranked No. 53 by Junior Golf Scoreboard and the No. 86 junior in the nation by Golfweek. This year she qualified for the U.S. Girls Junior Championships and played in the Callaway Golf Junior World Championships for the second consecutive year. She played in the 2009 Public Links Championship. In AJGA events, she won the 2010 U.S. Girls Junior Qualifier in June and took top honors at the AJGA Southeast Junior Open in August of 2009.
For the second consecutive year she played with Mark O’Meara during the First Tee Open tournament at Pebble Beach. The event features 78 top junior golfers from around the world paired up with PGA Tour professionals. Mao has been a member of Sacramento’s First Tee program for the past eight years.
Mao helped her St. Francis High School team to the 2009 NCGA/CIF Girls Northern California Championship and the school’s second straight top-five finish in the California state championships. She was the Sacramento Delta League MVP for the 2007-2010 seasons.
Coughlin was the runner-up at the 2009 and 2010 Virginia State Golf Association’s Girls Championship. She is one of eight girls on the Virginia team that competed against the top juniors from Maryland in 2009 and 2010. She was one of four girls selected to the VSGA-MGA Junior team in 2010.
The first girl to play on the Hickory High School boys team for all four years, she was named to the VHSL all-state boys and girls teams in 2010 after winning all-state girls honors in 2008 and 2009. She was first-team all-district as a sophomore, junior and senior. She placed third at the girls state championship in 2010 after finishing second in 2009.
Coughlin was recognized by the Chesapeake School Board as a Chesapeake Scholar Athlete in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Coughlin had a pair of top-five finishes at AJGA events including a seventh place finish in the 72-player field at the Junior Girls Championships. She also qualified for the same event in 2009. Coughlin was also named to the AJGA/HP Scholastic Honor Roll. She is ranked No. 139 nationally among all junior players.