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Ciganda falls a couple strokes short of three-peat at Pac-10

April 20, 2011


With a miraculous chip in for birdie from the trap on eight, back-to-back Pac-10 Champion Carlota Ciganda was almost in reach of an unprecedented third conference title. But with a late birdie run by PING/ASU Champion Sophia Popov of USC and an errant shot into the hazard on nine, a bid for a third-straight championship feel just out of reach.

Ciganda finished the day with a 2-under 70, at one point making a string of three straight birdies on holes three through five, to finish in third place with a 3-under 213. However, it was USC's Sophia Popov's inspired third round of play, in which the Trojan recorded six birdies, which sealed the conference crown for the freshman shooting a 6-under 210.

Popov, who won the PING/ASU Invitational at the par-72, 6,230-yard ASU Karsten Golf Course only two weeks ago, is the first freshman to win the Championship since Ciganda won the title in 2009.

In a play off with UCLA's Tiffany Lua, Popov narrowly missed a birdie putt only to benefit from a bogey by Lua to put the Championship away.

USC took home its third team title in school history with a score of even-par 864, and its first team title since 2008 on their home course in Palos Verdes, Calif. The victory is even more impressive with the fact that the Trojans were competing with a shortened line-up as Lisa McCloskey had to withdraw in the final round due to injury.

As a team, the Sun Devils finished in sixth place overall, shooting a three-day total of 27-over 891.

Individually for Arizona State, freshman Justine Lee shot a career-low 71 in the final round of play for a tournament total of 225 of 9-over to tie for 22nd. Fellow freshman Daniela Ordonez also tied for 22nd with a three-day total of 225.