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Murcia leads field at the Wildcat Invitational

February 22, 2009

The Arizona State women's golf team stands in second place after round one of the Wildcat Invitational held at the par 72 6,146-yard, Peninsula Golf Club in Puerto Penasco, Mexico. The Sun Devils, who are playing without 2008 NCAA Champion senior Azahara Munoz for the second straight tournament, overcame adversity to finish the day strong as several members of the team were ill. The Sun Devils, who are ranked No. 1 by Golfweek and No. 2 by Golf World, shot a 7-over 295 to finish the day eight shots behind UCLA , who is ranked No. 1 by Golf World and No. 2 by Golfweek. Individually junior Juliana Murcia led the team and the field.

"This trip has been adventurous as I didn't think I would be able to field a team this morning," said seventh year head coach Melissa Luellan. "Giulia had a very high fever last night and thanks to the doctor she was able to play today, although weak. Jaclyn fell ill after breakfast. She is still not able to keep any food or liquids down. We are hoping she will feel better tomorrow."

After shooting six birdies over the course of the day, Murcia stands alone in first. The junior, who won her first tournament two weeks ago at the Northrop Grumman, shot a career-low 5-under 67. Murcia's previous round low was 70, which she tied in Palos Verdes.

"Juliana saved the day with her course record 67," said Luellen. "She hit 16 greens today and no mistakes."

Freshman Carlota Ciganda finished the day tied for 15th. The European Amateur Champion carded a 2-over 74 to close out the first day. Senior Jennifer Osborn posted a 3-over 75 and is currently tied for 22nd. Transfer Jaclyn Sweeney finished the day at 7-over 79 and will enter the second round tied for 55th. Currently tied at 69th, Giulia Molinaro carded a 9-over 81. Mexico native Liisa Kelo, who is playing as an individual, is tied for 55th after shooting a 7-over 79.

"We have some ground to make up but we have two days to do it," said Luellen on the team's plan to catch the Bruins. "We can do it if we can heal up!"

The Sun Devils tee off at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow morning. The Wildcat Invitational will conclude on Tuesday.