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Women's golf set to host PING/ASU Invitational

April 07, 2010

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This week
The top-ranked and defending NCAA Champions Arizona State University women's golf team will host their lone home tournament of the year, the PING/ASU Invitational. The PING/ASU Invitational will be held at the par 72, 6,230-yard ASU Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Ariz., The tournament will run April 9-11 with tee-times beginning on the first and 10th holes beginning at 8 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and 7:30 a.m. on Sunday. Live results will be available through Golf Stat.

ASU line-up
1. Carlota Ciganda
2. Jennifer Johnson
3. Giulia Molinaro
4. Jaclyn Sweeney
5. Juliana Murcia
I. Larissa Eruera
I. Liisa Kelo
I. Alessia Knight

About the ASU/PING Invitational
Oklahoma State came away with the team title last season while Purdue's Maria Hernandez was the medalist. ASU has won their home tournament 17 times and 15 Sun Devils have earned medalist honors. The Sun Devils most recently won the PING/ASU Invitational in 2007 with Sun Devil Anna Nordqvist taking home the individual trophy that year. The tournament has been held since 1966 with complete records dating back to the 1975 tournament.

Stacked field
The 2010 PING/ASU Invitational will carry on its tradition of hosting one of the nation's toughest fields. Eleven of the nation's top 25 teams will be competing for the team trophy in what is generally the last regular season tournament of the season. The 2010 PING/ASU Invitational includes No. 5 Alabama, No. 7 Arizona, No. 3 Arizona State, No. 14 California, No. 21 Denver, No. 24 New Mexico, No. 26 Oklahoma State, No. 9 Pepperdine, No. 8 Purdue, No. 43 San Jose State, No. 13 Stanford, No. 31 Texas, NO. 49 Tulsa, No. 1 UCLA, No. 6 USC, No. 36 Washington and No. 110 Washington State. All rankings are by Golf Stat.

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.

Krafty freshman
Freshman Jennifer Johnson recently competed at the Kraft Nabisco Championship as an amateur exemption. Johnson, who has placed in the top 10 in five out of six tournaments this season, was one of only two current collegiate players to make the two-day cut.

Senior star
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.

Be Italia
Giulia Molinaro has solidified herself on the Sun Devils' lineup this season. Highlighted by a final round of 69, Molinaro placed seventh at the Bruin/Wave Invitational for her second career top 10 finish. The Italian sophomore had a strong tournament in Palos Verdes, finishing tied for 17th. She has also recorded a top-10 placing at the TOPY Cup earlier this season.

What sophomore slump?
Returning All-American Carlota Ciganda has picked up right where she left off. The sophomore has already notched four top 10 finishes this season. Ciganda turned in a runner-up performance at the Stanford Intercollegiate. Additionally, she finished tied for third at the TOPY Cup and was the Sun Devil's highest finisher at the Landfall Tradition/NCAA Fall Preview. Recently, she tied for seventh at the Wildcat Invitational and tied for fifth at the Bruin/Wave Invitational.

Super coaches
Head coach Melissa Luellen and associate head coach Missy Farr-Kaye garnered several awards after last season's success. Luellen was named Sky-Caddie NGCA Coach of the Year, Pac-10 Coach of the Year and West Region Coach of the Year. Farr-Kaye's determination and courage shown last season through dealing with recoverying from a recurrence of breast cancer while coaching was awarded as she was named the recipient of the Kim Moore Spirit Award and was also a co-winner of the Golden Heart Award at the ASU Sparky Awards.

Next up
The Sun Devils will look to defend their Pacific-10 Conference title at the 2010 Pacific-10 Conference Championships. Hosted by Oregon at the Eugene Country Club, the tournament will take place April 19-21.