Women's golf hosts 37th PING/ASU Invitational
This Week --
The No. 1 Arizona State women's golf team returns home to host the PING/ASU Invitational, Apr. 3-5. The tournament will be held at the beautiful par-72, 6,230 yard Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Ariz. One of the toughest tournaments of the year, the field includes: No. 1. Arizona State, No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 USC, No. 5 Oklahoma State, No. 9 Purdue, No. 12 Pepperdine, No. 15 Denver, No. 17 Vanderbilt, No. 21 Stanford, No. 24 California, No. 26 Arizona, No. 28 Oregon, No. 29 New Mexico, No. 40 Texas A & M, No. 42 Colorado, No. 55 Tulsa and No. 58 UCF. ASU will tee off at 8 am PT on Friday. Admission is free to the public and live stats will be available on www.golfstat.com.
PING/ASU History --
The PING/ASU Invitational is one of the premier invitationals in college golf. ASU has won their home tournament 24 times in its 37 year history. Last year, USC won the PING/ASU Invitational for the second time. USC's Dewi Schreefel defeated ASU's Anna Nordqvist in a tie-breaker to take home medalist honors. The Sun Devils last won the PING/ASU in 2007.
Top Devils --
The Sun Devils held the top spot in the Golfweek poll but dropped to No. 2 in the Golf World poll. The Sun Devils accumulated seven less votes than top-ranked UCLA.
Invitation Accepted! --
There will be a missing face from ASU's lineup this weekend. Defending NCAA Champion Munoz recently accepted an invitation to compete in the Kraft Nabisco Invitational held at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Munoz will miss ASU's home tournament to compete in the LPGA event. Jennifer Johnson, a 2009 NLI signee, was also given an exemption to the Kraft Nabisco Invitational.
Three Times On Top --
Despite playing without their No. 1 and No. 2 players of the fall, the Sun Devils took home their third tournament championship of the season in Palos Verdes, Calif., earlier this year. Topping No. 2 UCLA and No. 3 USC on one of their local courses, the team shot a 46-over 898 (305-294-299) to win the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge.
Carlota Qualifies --
ASU freshman Carlota Ciganda recently earned an exemption into the J Golf Phoenix LPGA International. The Spaniard carded a 3-under 69 at the Amateur Qualifier to claim her spot at the prestigious event. She carded a 12-over 156 (77-79) before missing the cut.
Much Deserved Recognition --
Azahara Munoz was recently recognized for her NCAA Championship. Last week, Munoz was honored at the halftime of the NCAA Men's Basketball West Regional Final in Glendale, Ariz. Munoz and Coach Luellen watched the game from the stands, then Munoz left the following day for Rancho Mirage.
Much Ado About Munoz---
Reigning NCAA Individual Champion Munoz comes back for more as she looks to cap her Sun Devil career in superior fashion. After resting for two tournament as she recovered from a minor wrist surgery, the senior has placed in the top 10 in both tournaments competed in thus far this spring. Munoz, whose win at the NCAA Championships last season marked her first collegiate tournament victory, entered the season ranked No. 2 in the Golf World/NGCA poll. The native of Malaga, Spain tied for second at The Derby Invitational, carding 5-under (shot par at the NCAA Fall Preview to tie for fourth.
Sweet Sweeney --
After a bit of a slow start, Jaclyn Sweeney has picked up her game the past two tournaments. The sophomore transfer has placed in the top 10 in the last two tournaments. After tying for sixth at the UCF Challenge, Sweeney carded a 4-over 220 (73-74-73) to tie for 10th at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational. Sweeney earned first-team All-American honors from Golfweek.com last season while at Oklahoma State.
Settling in Just Fine --
Placing in the top five in three of the four tournaments of the spring, Carlota Ciganda has had no problems adjusting to U.S. soil. The Spanish freshman tied for second in her ASU debut at the Northrop Grumman. Ciganda followed that performance up with a one-shot-out-of-first third place finish at the Wildcat and tied for fifth at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational.
Murcia Shows No Mercy --
After starting the Northrop Grumman as the team's No. 4 player, junior Juliana Murcia had the best tournament of her collegiate career and finished as the tournament medalist. Battling through rain, near freezing temperatures and 40 mph winds, the junior shot 1-over 214 (70-71-73) to help lead the Sun Devils to their third team title of the season. Her round one score of 70 was a career-low for Murcia. Murcia beat out teammate Carlota Ciganda for first by eight shots for her first collegiate tournament win. Aided by a career-low 5-under 67 in the first round, Murcia carded her second top 10 finish of the season with a seventh place finish at the Wildcat.
All About Osborn --
After a tough junior season, Jennifer Osborn has came on strong in her final year at ASU. The senior has finished in the top 20 four times this season including three top-10 performances. At the Wildcat, Osborn shot two rounds under par to jump up to seventh on the final day. Osborn recorded her third top 10 performance at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational. Playing as an individual, Osborn reclaimed her spot in the lineup with a ninth place finish.
Making Her Way in the Lineup --
Freshman Giulia Molinaro secured her place in the lineup for the Betsy Rawls after placing in the top 20 at the UCF Invitational. Playing as an individual, Molinaro carded an even 216 (77-68-71). Her score of 68 in the second round marks a career-low for the Italian. Molinaro placed in the top 25 at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational after shooting a 10-over 225 (71-76-78).
Nationally Honored --
The Sun Devils' stellar spring start was recognized by two national golf publications. Murcia was named Player of the Week by both Golfweek.com and Golf World. The team was also honored as Team of the Week by Golfweek.com. The team had previously been tabbed Team of the Week for their win at the NCAA Fall Preview in September and Anna Nordqvist was named Player of the Week for her win at The Derby.
Fall Recap --
The Sun Devils will head into the spring after a successful season. Sporting only five players on their roster, the team took home first place trophies in two tournaments. The Sun Devils won the NCAA Fall Preview, which features most of the nation's top teams, for the first time since 1994. After a fifth place finish at the Mason Randolph, the team decided to end the fall the way they started it, with a win. They did just that, capturing first place at The Derby.
The Sun Devils look to earn their eighth conference title in two weeks as they head to Stanford, Calif. The Pac-10 Championships, which features the top teams of college golf, will be held Apr. 23-25.