Women's Golf Heads to NCAA West Regionals in Corvallis

May 9, 2001

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Coming off its third-place showing at the Pac-10 Championships, the Arizona State women's golf team returns to action this week at the NCAA West Regional Championships, being held Thursday-Saturday, May 10-12 at 6,089-yard, par 72 Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis, Ore. The Trysting Tree Golf Club, which will host the men's NCAA West Regional the following week, was rated the third-best collegiate facility on the West Coast by Golfweek Magazine in 1998. The 13th-ranked Sun Devils will be looking to capture their first NCAA West Regional title since 1997 and finish in the top five for the ninth straight year. This year's NCAA West Regional features 14 teams ranked in the top 50, including nine of the top 25 and three of the top five teams in the nation in No. 2 Arizona, No. 3 USC and No. 4 Stanford.

About the NCAA West RegionalEighteen holes will be played Thursday through Saturday, May 10-12 beginning at 7:30 a.m. Pacific time from tees No. 1 and No. 10. The final group tees off at 1:20 p.m. each day. First- and second-round pairings are predetermined based on seeding, while final-round pairings will be based on team results after the first two rounds. The top four scores from each five-person team will count toward the team score. Arizona State will be paired with Ohio State and Tennessee in the first and second rounds, going off at 7:40 a.m. from No. 10 on Thursday and at 11:50 a.m. from No. 1 on Friday.

Last year, Arizona State hosted the NCAA West Regional at ASU Karsten Golf Course. Eventual national champion Arizona won the tournament by five strokes. San Jose State finsihed second, followed by USC, Arizona State and TCU. ASU All-America selection and national Freshman of the Year Miriam Nagl captured individual medalist honors.

The FieldArizona, winner of this year's Pac-10 Championships, is the No. 1 seed in the West, followed by conference foes USC and Stanford. Tennessee and Ohio State round out the top five seeds, followed by Arizona State, UCLA, Michigan State, Washington and Furman. The rest of the field is comprised of Indiana, Oregon, Memphis, Missouri, Colorado State, Nevada, tournament host Oregon State, BYU, Central Connecticut State, Southwest Missouri State and Weber State.

Nine of the 10 Pac-10 schools qualified for NCAA regional action with eight staying in the West and California going to the Central Regional. Washington State senior Tasha Browner was also selected as one of two individuals in the West Regional, so all 10 Pac-10 schools will be represented.

Qualifying for the NCAA ChampionshipsThe top eight teams and two individuals from each region will qualify for the NCAA Championships to be held May 22-25 at the Mission Inn Golf and Tennis Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. This season marks the first year that the NCAA has gone to a three-regional format. Twenty-one teams and two individuals have qualified for each regional with the NCAA East Regional being held at Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill, N.C. (University of North Carolina, host) and the Central Regional being held at Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex in West Lafayette, Ind., (Purdue University, host).

The LineupArizona State's lineup will include freshman Jimin Kang, senior Molly Cooper, sophomore Melanie Hunt, junior Lisa Meredith and sophomore Blair O'Neal.

Pac-10 HonorsThree Sun Devils earned All-Pac-10 Conference honors led by freshman Jimin Kang who was named to the second team. Senior Molly Cooper and junior Lisa Meredith were honorable-mention honorees, accolade of Cooper's career and the second in as many years for Meredith.

In the RankingsArizona State checked in at 13th in the May 2 Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. Additionally, Arizona State is 20th in the May 1 MasterCard Collegiate Golf Rankings and 14th in the May 2 Golf World coaches' poll. Individually, freshman Jimin Kang is the highest ranked Sun Devil at 30th. A trio of other Sun Devils also appear in the Golfweek poll with sophomore Melanie Hunt ranked 68th, junior Lisa Meredith 81st and senior Molly Cooper 92nd.

Head Coach Linda VollstedtLinda 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 17 players to the professional ranks.

Last Time OutArizona State finished third at the Pac-10 Conference Women's Golf Championships held April 23-25 at ASU's Karsten Golf Course. Second-ranked Arizona captured its second straight conference title and its fourth in five years. The Wildcats entered the day in a tie for first with Arizona State but shot a one-under 287 in the final round to finish at 873 and slip past Stanford for the Pac-10 title. Stanford finished second with a three-round total of 876, while tournament host Arizona State (883), USC (886) and Washington (890) rounded out the top five.

All five Sun Devils finished in the top 25 led by freshman Jimin Kang who tied for fifth at two-over 218 (74-72-72). Senior Molly Cooper finished in a tie for 19th (75-70-76=221), sophomore Melanie Hunt finished in a tie for 13th (74-73-75=222), junior Lisa Meredith tied for 18th (72-77-75=224) and sophomore Blair O'Neal ended up tied for 25th (76-76-75=227). Senior Michaela Friberg played as an individual and tied for 40th with a season-best 233 (77-76-80). Individually, Arizona freshman Lorena Ochoa captured medalist honors, edging out teammate and fellow freshman Natalie Gulbis in a sudden-death playoff that lasted two holes.

Coming on StrongArizona State has turned in nine of its top 10 rounds of the season this spring, 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. The Sun Devils have finished in the top 10 in each of their last four tournaments and the top three in the last three.

Individually, the Sun Devils have shot 13 rounds at or below par in the last four 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. At the PING/ASU Invitational, ASU has three rounds at or below par including a pair of one-under 71s by senior Molly Cooper and Kang, while at the Pac-10 Championships, Cooper had a season-low 70 among the four rounds the Sun Devils shot at or under par.

Molly Cooper (Senior * Tumwater, Wash.)Has appeared in all nine tournaments for the Sun Devils this year ... has finished in the top 10 in each of her last two outings ... was named honorable-mention All-Pac-10, the first all-conference honor of her career ... tied for 10th at the Pac-10 Championships (21) ... shot a two-under 70 at that event, her season-low round ... carded her second top 10 finish of the season at the PING/ASU Invitational, tying for ninth with a five-over 216 ... is ranked 92nd in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin rankings ... shot a one-under 71 in the first round of the ASU/PING Invitational which tied for the low score of the day ... finished in a tie for eighth at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational with a nine-over par 225 ... also cracked the top 25 with a 24th-place showing at the Palmetto Dunes Intercollegiate, carding a 72 in the final round en route to a seven-over par 223, and then a 25th-place finish at the Arizona Invitational (231).

Michaela Friberg (Senior * Rydeback, Sweden)Made seven appearances this season, six as an individual, to end her five-year career at ASU ... finished with a 20.60 career stroke average in 23 appearances ... finished 40th at the Pac-10 Championships with a season-low 233 ... tied her best round of the year with a 76 on the second day of Pac-10s ... stepped into the lineup at the PING/ASU Invitational in place of the ill Lisa Meredith ... shot a season-low 76 in the final round of the PING/ASU Invitational en route to a tie for 62nd ... had her best showing of the year in the Palmetto Dunes Intercollegiate, finishing in a tie for 56th (82-81-82=245).

Lisa Meredith (Junior * Reading, England)Consistent player who has seen action in eight tournaments this season ... tied for 18th at the Pac-10 Championships (224) ... shot an even 72 in the first round at Pac-10s ... earned honorable-mention All-Pac-10 honors in 2001 for the second consecutive season ... missed the PING/ASU Invitational with a bout of the flu ... is third on the team in stroke average at 76.22 ... is ranked 81st in the latest individual polls ... turned in her best performance of the year at the San Jose State Spartan Invitational, finishing in a tie for 14th with a five-over 221 ... carded a season and career-low 71 in the first round of the Spartan Invite ... cracked the top 20 at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational, finishing in a tie for 19th with a 15-over par 231 (78-75-78) ... turned in 12-over 228's in each of her last fall appearances, tying for 27th at the Stanford Intercollegiate and for 36th at the Palmetto Dunes Intercollegiate ... matched her career-low round with a one-under 71 at Stanford.

Melanie Hunt (Sophomore * Phoenix, Ariz.)Transferred to Arizona State in December from Texas Tech University... a local product who attended Horizon High School in Phoenix... has immediately made an impact at ASU, jumping to No. 2 in the lineup with a 75.60 stroke average ... is ranked 68th individually ... has played in five tournaments for the Sun Devils ... finished in a tie for 13th at the Pac-10 Championships (222), her third top-20 appearance in as many events ... tied for 22nd at the PING/ASU Invitational at nine-over 225 ... finished at one-under 215 to take fifth place at the San Jose State Spartan Invitational ... shot a career-low 69 in the second round of the Arizona Invitational ... played in all five fall tournaments for Texas Tech, averaging 76.47 strokes per round... won the first tournament of her career at the Big 12 Fall Preview... carded an even-par 216 at that tournament including a career-low 71 in the second round (72-71-73) ... was named Golf World Collegiate Player of the Month for September ... also cracked the top 25 in two other tournaments this fall.

Blair O'Neal (Sophomore * Tempe, Ariz.)A local product from Tempe's Corona del Sol High School... has played in all nine tournaments this year... finished in a tie for 25th at the Pac-10 Championships (227) ... carded her best effort of the season at the PING/ASU Invitational, finishing in a tie for seventh at four-over 220 ... her best finish of the fall came at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational with a tie for 32nd... carded a season-low 71 in the second round of that tournament.

Jimin Kang (Freshman * Edmonds, Wash.)Has made a major impact as a true freshman ... leads the team in stroke average at 74.61 ... is ranked 30th in the latest individual polls ... earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors ... has six top 25 showings this season ... turned in her second top-five showing of the year, tying for fifth at the Pac-10 Championships (218) with a pair of 72s in the final two rounds ... took third at the Spartan Invitational after finishing at four-under 212 ... shot a career-low 67 in the season round of the San Jose State tournament ... has turned in six rounds at or under par ... was ranked 24th in the country before playing a round of collegiate golf ... finished in a tie for 27th in her first collegiate event, the NCAA Fall Preview, with a seven-over 153... cracked the top 10 with an eighth-place showing at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational in her home state of Washington (225)... finished in a tie for 15th at the Stanford Intercollegiate (224) and a tie for 24th at the Palmetto Dunes Intercollegiate (223) ... also cracked the top 25 at the Arizona Invitational ... runner-up at the 1999 U.S. Women's Amateur ... earned exemptions to play in two LPGA events.

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