Ciganda becomes first back-to-back Pac-10 Champion
The Arizona State women's golf team may not have had enough healthy players to defend its team title, but that did not stop the remaining three players of the No. 1 Sun Devils from making some noise at the Pacific-10 Conference Championships. With only three players competing after a serious virus hit Jennifer Johnson and Giulia Molinaro yesterday, the three managed to claim the top three spots on the final leader-board. Sophomore Carlota Ciganda successfully defended her Pac-10 Individual Champion title after defeating teammate Juliana Murcia in a playoff. She is the first back-to-back Pac-10 Champion.
"It's always nice to win," said Ciganda. "It was hard not competing as a team but I played awesome, as did July and Jackie."
In rainy and chilly conditions throughout the week, Ciganda shot 2-under 214 (71-72-71) to end the third round tied for the lead with Murcia. The two went to the 10th tee for a 1-hole playoff where Ciganda sunk a putt for birdie. Last season, Ciganda, then a freshman, defeated senior Jennifer Osborn for the conference title.
"The conditions were better today," said Ciganda. "There was a bit of wind but it wasn't as rainy and the greens were really soft."
"The course reminds me of my course back home (in Pamplona)," said Ciganda. "I also played here in the U.S. Amateur in 2008, so I have some really nice memories of this course."
Murcia moved up four spots from the previous round after a flawless final round. The senior knocked in three birdies and no bogeys to finish the tournament 2-under 214 (68-77-69). Murcia has now finished in the top five, four times this season, including three total runner-up finishes.
Jaclyn Sweeney also put together a fine tournament. The junior from Andover, Mass., tied for third after shooting 3-over 219 (72-75-72) for her second top five performance of the season. Four other players tied for third, including Oregon's Kendra Little, UCLA's Tiffany Lua, USC's Jennifer Song and Arizona's Margarita Ramos. With ASU's players going one, two and three, this is second time this season the Sun Devils have had three finish in the top five. They also accomplished the feat at the TOPY Cup.
Although they were feeling much better today, Giulia Molinaro and Jennifer Johnson stayed at the hotel during the morning due to the chilly temperatures. They came out to watch their two teammates compete in the playoff.
"We're just going to try our best the rest of the season and practice," said Ciganda. "Hopefully I can continue to play well."
Arizona was the team champion after carding 14-over 878 (293-297-288) to win by three shots over UCLA.
The Sun Devils will now await regional seeding. The sites of the 2010 NCAA Regionals include the Ironwood C.C. in Greenville, N.C. (hosted by East Carolina), the Stanford G.C. in Stanford, Calif. (hosted by Stanford) and the Otter Creek Golf Course in Bloomington, Ind. (hosted by Indiana).
ASU All-Time Pac-10 Champions
Danielle Ammaccapane (1987)
Pamela Wright (1988)
Pearl Sinn (1989)
Brandie Burton (1990)
Wendy Ward (1993, 1995)
Grace Park (1999)
Jimin Kang (2002)
Louise Stahle (2005)
Carlota Ciganda (2009, 2010)
Ciganda is the first back-to-back Pac-10 Champion and is only the second two-time winner. The other player was also a Sun Devil, Wendy Ward, who was the conference medalist in 1993 and 1995. Ciganda, a native from Pamplona, Spain, is the 11th individual Pac-10 Champion and 15th Sun Devil conference medalist. This is Ciganda's first medalist honor of the season and third in her career.