Women's Golf to Host PING/ASU Invitational
April 2, 2001
TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State women's golf team returns to action this weekend as the team plays host to the PING/ASU Invitational Friday-Sunday, April 6-8 at the par 72, 6,090-yard Karsten Golf Course. The Sun Devils will be looking to capture their first tournament title of the season after turning in their best finish of the year at the San Jose State Spartan Invitational a month ago. ASU will also be aiming for its first win in the PING/ASU Invitational since 1999 when the team built a 20-stroke lead (884) to capture the tournament title and ASU All-American Grace Park took home individual medalist honors.
The PING/ASU Invitational has been held each year since 1965-66, while Arizona State has won the tournament in 22 of the 35 years it has been held. Last season, eventual national champion Arizona edged ASU for the PING/ASU Invitational championship by three strokes (872-875), while individual NCAA champion Jenna Daniels of Arizona took home individual medalist honors (207).
ASU'S LINEUP: ASU's lineup will include freshman Jimin Kang (Edmonds, Wash.), sophomore Melanie Hunt (Phoenix, Ariz.), junior Lisa Meredith (Reading, England), senior Molly Cooper (Tumwater, Wash.) and sophomore Blair O'Neal (Tempe, Arizona). Senior Michaela Friberg (Rydeback, Sweden) will be playing as an individual.
COMING ON STRONG: Arizona State has turned in four of its best five rounds of the season in the team's last two tournaments, including a season-low one-under 287 in the second round of the San Jose State Spartan Invitational on March 6. The Sun Devils opened that tournament with a then-season-low 290 but bested that the next day with a 287. Individually, the Sun Devils have shot six rounds at or below par in the last two events, including a season-low 67 by freshman Jimin Kang in the second round of the Spartan Invitational and a career-best 69 by sophomore Melanie Hunt in the second round of the Arizona Invitational on Feb. 20.
IN THE RANKINGS: Arizona State checked in at 22nd in the March 28 MasterCard Collegiate Golf rankings and 13th in the April 2 Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. Individually, freshman Jimin Kang is the highest ranked Sun Devil, ranking 35th in the Mastercard poll and 32nd in the Golfweek poll. A pair of other Sun Devils also appear in the national polls with sophomore Melanie Hunt ranked 83rd by MasterCard and 85th by Golfweek and junior Lisa Meredith checking in at 84th in the Golfweek rankings.
THE PING/ASU INVITATIONAL FORMAT: 18 holes will be played on Friday and Saturday, April 6-7 beginning at 8 a.m. PDT from tees No. 1 and No. 10. Sunday's final round on April 8 will begin at 7:30 a.m. from tees No. 1 and No. 10. Second- and third-round pairings are based on team total and individual total within the team. Team ties will be broken by the highest score, while players tied within a team will utilize the previous day's position. The top four scores from each five-person team will count toward the team score.
THE FIELD: This year's PING/ASU Invitational will feature 15 teams,12 which are ranked in the top 50 in the March 28 MasterCard Collegiate Golf Rankings and April 2 Golfweek/Sagarin poll. The field includes five of the top 10 teams in the nation in No. 2/2 Arizona, No. 4/3 USC, No. 5/4 Stanford, No. 7/8 New Mexico State and No. 10/11 Tulsa. The rest of the field is made up of No. 18/16 TCU, No. 21/18 UCLA, No. 22/13 Arizona State. No. 28/25 New Mexico, No. 32/23 Washington, No. 40/26 California, No. 41/39 San Jose State, Oregon, Oregon State and Washington State. The field of individuals is just as distinguished featuring a total of 33 ranked players including the nation's top two golfers, Lorena Ochoa of Arizona and Candie Kung of USC. In addition, the ASU/PING Invitational features 10 of the top 20 golfers in the country. (All rankings listed are MasterCard/Golfweek)
LAST TIME OUT: Arizona State matched its best finish of the season, taking third at the San Jose State Spartan Invitational, held March 5-7 at the par 72, 5,938-yard Corral de Tierra Country Club. After season lows in each of the first two rounds, the Sun Devil team carded a 10-over 298 on the final day to finish third, just six strokes behind tournament winner New Mexico State (869). ASU finished with a three-day total of 875, while Pepperdine finished second (870). Stanford (877) took fourth and Washington (890) was fifth.
Individually, freshman Jimin Kang turned in the first top five finish of her young career, taking third with a three-day total of 212, just three strokes behind tournament winner Kelli Kamimura of Washington (209). Kang shot a career-low 67 on Tuesday and followed that up with a one-over 73 on Wednesday. Sophomore Melanie Hunt, a transfer from Texas Tech, finished fifth at 215, carding her second consecutive round under par with a one-under 71. Junior Lisa Meredith also turned in her best finish of the season, tying for 15th at 221. Rounding out the Sun Devil squad were senior Molly Cooper who tied for 37th (230) and sophomore Blair O'Neal who tied for 40th (231).
2000-01 ARIZONA STATE WOMEN'S GOLF STROKE AVERAGES:Name App. Top 10 Rds. Strokes Avg. LowJimin Kang 7 2 20 1495 74.75 67Melanie Hunt 3 1 9 687 76.33 69Lisa Meredith 7 0 20 1529 76.45 71Molly Cooper 7 1 20 1540 77.00 72Blair O'Neal 7 0 20 1565 78.28 71Michaela Friberg 5 0 14 1167 83.38 79
WHO'S BACK, WHO'S NEW: Arizona State returns four players from last year's squad, including three who played on the Sun Devils' NCAA Championships squad in senior Molly Cooper, junior Lisa Meredith and sophomore Blair O'Neal. Michaela Friberg also returns to the squad for her senior campaign. Freshman Jimin Kang joins the Sun Devil team from King's High School in Edmonds, Wash. The Washington state women's amateur champion, Kang was the runnerup at the 1999 U.S. Women's Amateur in Asheville, N.C., and earned an exemption to play in 1999 LPGA Safeco Classic in Seattle. In addition, sophomore Melanie Hunt joined the Sun Devil squad at the semester, transferring to ASU from Texas Tech. A local product who attended Horizon High School in Phoenix, Hunt played in all five fall tournaments for the Red Raiders, averaging 76.47 strokes per round. She won the first tournament of her career at the 2000 Big 12 Fall Preview.
LINDA VOLLSTEDT: Linda Vollstedt, a 1969 graduate of ASU is in her 21st year as the head coach of the Arizona State women's golf team. One of Golf World's top 10 college golf coaches of the century and a finalist for induction into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame, the five-time national coach of the year led ASU to six NCAA championships in the 1990s, twice as many as any other women's golf program in the nation. ASU has also captured Top 10 NCAA finishes in 10 of the last 13 years. Throughout her career, Vollstedt has coached 40 All-Americans and guided 15 players to the professional ranks.