Women's golf team captures NCAA Championship
The Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md., has become Happy Valley for the Arizona State women's golf team as they pulled ahead of the field to claim their seventh NCAA Championship. Determined and focused, the Sun Devils fired off a 3-over 291 to claim their first NCAA Championships since 1998 and finished the tournament shooting 30-over 1182 (302-298-291-291).
The top-ranked Sun Devils came from 11 shots behind after the second round to win by eight shots over second-place UCLA. The Sun Devils also won NCAA team titles in 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997 and 1998.
This is head coach Melissa Luellen's first NCAA Championship as head coach. It is the fifth NCAA team championship in her family as her mother, Dale McNamara, won four at Tulsa. It is believed to be the first mother-daughter combination to win NCAA Championships at different schools. Luellen was named SkyCaddie NGCA National Coach of the Year, an award her mother won in 1985. Women's golf coaching legend Linda Vollstedt won the award as the ASU head coach in 1989, 1994 and 1995.
The Sun Devils have had a roller coaster of a year as assistant coach Missy Farr-Kaye was diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer in July. She was able to travel beginning in March, when her treatment concluded. For her courage throughout the season, Farr-Kaye was given the Kim Moore Spirit Award.
The Sun Devils have won five tournaments this year. The team kicked off the season taking the NCAA Fall Preview in early September and concluded the fall season with a win at The Derby Invitational. The Sun Devils began the spring winning the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge. ASU finished the season going 1-2-3 as they were crowned Pac-10 Champions, NCAA West Regional Champions and now NCAA Champions.
The 2008 NCAA Individual Champion, Azahara Munoz, paced the Sun Devils throughout the tournament and tied for fourth. Munoz carded an even par in the final round, knocking in four birdies in the process. She shot a 4-over 293 (78-71-72-72).
Carlota Ciganda and Jaclyn Sweeney tied for 11th. Ciganda shot an even 72 in the final round to finish 9-over 297 (74-76-75-72). She rebounded after having bogeys the first two holes and responded back with a total of three birdies in the round. Sweeney shot a 9-over 297 (76-77-69-75) for her fourth top 20 finish of the season.
Jennifer Osborn recorded a top 25 finish in her final collegiate event. Osborn carded an 11-over 299 (75-74-75-75) to tie for 21st. Juliana Murcia shot an even par in the final round and finished 14-over 302 (77-77-76-72). Murcia hit three birdies on the back nine to get to an even par in the final round.
The Sun Devils concluded their season with five tournament wins, three runner-up finishes and a total of 11 top-five tournament finishes.