Women's golf heads to NCAA Central Regional
The Arizona State women's golf team heads to Indiana for the 2010 NCAA Central Regional. Held at the Otter Creek Golf Course in Columbus, Ind., the Sun Devils earned a No. 1 seed to the Regional, which will run May 6-8. The top eight teams, and two individuals from non-qualifying teams, from each of the three regionals will advance on to the NCAA Champions, held at the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, N.C. ASU has been to 19 straight NCAA Championships, which is the nation's longest active streak.
Eyeing the competition
Twenty-four teams will be competing for eight spots at the NCAA Championships. Joining the Sun Devils from the Pac-10, will be No. 2 seeded USC and No. 11 Oregon. ASU will also compete against No. 3 Purdue, No. 4 Michigan State, No. 5 Georgia, No. 6 Denver, No. 7 New Mexico, No. 8 Florida State, No. 9 Oklahoma State, No. 10 Louisville, No. 12 Kent State, No. 13 Northwestern, No. 14 Notre Dame, No. 15 Mississippi, No. 16 San Diego State, No. 17 Baylor, No. 18 Tulsa, No. 19 North Carolina State, No. 20 Indiana (host), No. 21 Illinois State, No. 22 Murray State, No. 23 Detroit and No. 24 Jackson State, along with individuals Ashley Bauer of Michigan, Lansing Olivia of Drake and Julia Potter of Missouri.
Pac-10 Championships recap
At the conclusion of the first round, the Sun Devils looked on pace to successfully defend their Pac-10 title. Unfortunately, a severe illness struck freshman Jennifer Johnson and sophomore Giulia Molinaro. Molinaro attempted to play the second round, but could not go any farther than six holes. With both players being forced to withdraw, the Sun Devils were disqualified due to the fact they could not count four scores. The remaining three players made sure to make a statement to the rest of the conference as they finished first, second and third in the final individual standings.
Sophomore Carlota Ciganda made history at the Pac-10 Championships as she became the first back-to-back conference champion. Last season, Ciganda defeated senior Jennifer Osborn and USC's Jennifer Song in a playoff to earn her first collegiate victory. This year, the Spaniard birdied on a playoff hole against senior Juliana Murcia for her first medalist honor of the season. She is only the second player in the conference to win two Pac-10 titles. Former ASU standout Wendy Ward was the Pac-10 medalist in 1993 and 1995. Ciganda is the first Sun Devil to successfully defend a tournament title since Heather Bowie who won the Conquistadores/Chris Johnson Invitational in 1994 and 1995.
Four Sun Devils were named to the All-Pac-10 team last week. Ciganda and Murcia were both named to the First Team for the second consecutive season. Johnson joined Ciganda and Murcia on the First-Team as the only freshman on the list. Sweeney earned Second-Team honors after being named Honorable Mention last season.
With three players in the top 15 in the Golfstat Cup standings and four in the top 25 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Ratings, the Sun Devils have one of the most talented squads in the country. Murcia leads the team with a ranking of sixth by Golfweek and 10th by Golfstat. Ciganda is ninth in both ranking systems. Johnson currently sits at eighth in the Golfweek rankings and is 11th by Golf Stat. Sweeney is 21st in the Golfweek poll.
Curtis Cup bound
Freshman Johnson received an invitation to represent the United States in the 2010 Curtis Cup. Held June 11-13 at the Essex Country Club in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass., the Curtis Cup selects eight of the top American amateur women's golf to compete against eight amateurs from Great Britain and Ireland. This is the 21st time a Sun Devil has been selected as a member of the Curtis Cup and first since Kellee Booth in 1998.
Jaclyn Sweeney has put together a solid junior season. The junior began the year with a win at the TOPY Cup and has earned three additional top 10 finishes. Recently, Sweeney had her second top three performance of the season by tying for third at the Pac-10 Championships. Additionally, she placed sixth at the Stanford Intercollegiate and finished 10th at the Wildcat Invitiational.
Three trophies so far
The top-ranked ASU women's team have already placed three new trophies in their case this season. The team went down to Tucson for the Wildcat Invitational and took their third Wildcat Invitational win. With four players finishing in the top 10, the Sun Devils won by a 12-stroke margin. In the fall season, the Sun Devils finished on top at the Stanford Intercollegiate. This was the third straight time ASU has won on the Stanford Golf Course, as they won the 2007 Stanford Intercollegiate and also won last season's Pac-10 title on Stanford's home course. Despite the stacked field, the Sun Devils came away with a four-stroke win as four of their players placed in the top 10. Previously, the Sun Devils took first at the TOPY Cup with a 26-stroke lead over second-place Wake Forest. Three ASU golfers went 1-2-3 as Jaclyn Sweeney claimed medalist honors with Juliana Murcia finishing runner-up and Carlota Ciganda tying for third.
Defending NCAA Champions
The Sun Devils claimed their first NCAA Championship since 1998, and seventh overall, last season at the Caves Valley Golf Course in Owings Mills, Md. The Sun Devils came back from an 11-stroke deficit after the second round to win by eight shots. ASU also won NCAA team titles in 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997 and 1998. The Sun Devils are currently ranked No. 1 in the Golf World/NGCA Coaches Poll and the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings and are No. 3 in the Golf Stat poll.
Senior Juliana Murcia has had a strong start to her final season as a Sun Devil. Murcia, a senior majoring in sculpture, carded her second runner-up finish of the season at the Wildcat Invitational, where she also recorded an eagle. The returning second-team All-American has finished in the top-20 in each tournament this season. After starting the 2009-10 campaign with a runner-up placing at the TOPY Cup, Murcia tied for 15th at the Mason Rudolph Championship. She followed that performance up with a third-place finish at the Stanford Intercollegiate and most recently tied for seventh at the Northrop Grumman. Over winter break, she tied for first at the Copa de las Americas in Argentina. A two-time NGCA All-American Scholar, Murcia is set to graduate in May.
The Sun Devils will await their selection for their 19th consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships.