Women's Golf Heads to the Sunshine State for NCAA Championships May 22-25
May 16, 2001
TEMPE, Ariz. -
Winners of six national crowns in the 1990s, the 13th-ranked Arizona State women's golf team heads to Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., for the 2001 NCAA Championships May 22-25 looking to capture their sixth NCAA title in nine years. Stetson University and the Orlando Sports Commission play host to the NCAA Championships at the Mission Inn Golf and Tennis Resort on the par 72, 6,106-yard El Campeon course.
A total of 24 teams will compete in this year's tournament including eight teams and two individuals from each of three regionals. Qualifiers from the NCAA West Regional, hosted by Oregon State May 10-12, are Arizona, Stanford, Michigan State, UCLA, Ohio State, ASU, Washington and USC. Representing the East are Duke, Auburn, Georgia, South Florida, New Mexico, South Carolina, San Jose State and Pepperdine, while Tulsa, Purdue, Texas, New Mexico State, Oklahoma State, LSU, Kent State and California advanced from the Central Regional.
About the NCAA ChampionshipsEighteen holes will be played Tuesday through Friday, May 22-25 beginning at 7:30 a.m. Eastern time from tees No. 1 and No. 10. First- and second-round pairings are predetermined based on seeding, while tee times for the final two rounds will be based on results. The top four scores from each five-person team will count toward the team score. As the No. 6 team from the West, Arizona State will be paired with South Carolina and LSU in the first and second rounds and will tee off No. 1 at 8:40 a.m. EST on Tuesday and off No. 10 at 12:40 p.m. EST on Wednesday.
The LineupArizona State's lineup will feature freshman Jimin Kang, senior Molly Cooper, sophomore Melanie Hunt, junior Lisa Meredith and sophomore Blair O'Neal. Cooper, Meredith and O'Neal all return from last year's NCAA Championships squad, while Kang and Hunt will be participating in their first NCAA Championships.
How They Got HereThe Sun Devils earned their ninth straight trip to the NCAA Championships and 19th overall with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA West Regional, held May 10-12 at the Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis, Ore. Freshman Jimin Kang led the Sun Devil squad with her third-place finish with a three-under par total of 213. Kang shot a career-low 66 on Friday en route to her third-place showing which was the lowest round for a Sun Devil since All-American Grace Park set the school record with a pair of 65s in the first and second rounds of the 1998 NCAA Championships. Senior Molly Cooper carded her fourth top-20 finish of the season with a tie for 19th, while sophomore Melanie Hunt and junior Lisa Meredith each tied for 55th and sophomore Blair O'Neal tied for 80th.
2000-01 ASU Stroke AveragesName App Top 10 Rounds Strokes Avg. LowJimin Kang 10 4 29 2153 74.24 66Melanie Hunt 6 1 18 1371 76.17 69Lisa Meredith 9 0 26 1990 76.54 71Molly Cooper 10 3 29 2208 76.14 70Blair O'Neal 10 1 29 2256 77.79 71Michaela Friberg 7 0 20 1639 81.95 76
In the RankingsArizona State checked in at 13th in the May 14 Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. Additionally, Arizona State is 20th in the May 16 MasterCard Collegiate Golf Rankings and 14th in the May 2 Golf World coaches' poll. Individually, freshman Jimin Kang is the highest ranked Sun Devil, moving to 20th (Golfweek) and 21st (MasterCard) from 30th after her third-place finish at the NCAA West Regional. A trio of other Sun Devils also appear in the polls with senior Molly Cooper 69th (MasterCard) and 83rd (Golfweek), sophomore Melanie Hunt ranked 95th (Golfweek) and 99th (MasterCard) and junior Lisa Meredith 92nd (Golfweek).
NCAA HistoryThe Sun Devils have six NCAA team titles to their credit, all won in the 1990s with the most recent coming in 1998. ASU became the first women's golf team in NCAA history to 'three-peat,' sweeping the NCAA crowns from 1993-95. The Sun Devils are making their 10th straight NCAA Championships appearance and their 19th in the last 20 years. In those appearances, ASU has captured 15 Top 10 NCAA finishes, including 11 in the last 13 years.
Individually, eight Sun Devils have won NCAA medalist honors, most recently All-American Grace Park in 1999, while five others have been the national runnerup.
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, the first all-league accolade of Cooper's career and the second in as many years for Meredith.
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.
Coming on StrongArizona State has turned in 10 of its top 11 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 five tournaments and the top three in three of the last four.
Individually, the Sun Devils have shot 15 rounds at or below par in the last five events, including a career-low 66 by freshman Jimin Kang in the second round of the NCAA West Regional 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. At the NCAA West Regional, Kang finished at three-under with a 71 in the first round and a 66 in the second.
Molly Cooper (Senior * Tumwater, Wash.)Has appeared in all 10 tournaments for the Sun Devils this year ... has finished in the top 20 in each of her last three outings with two top-10 showings ... was named honorable-mention All-Pac-10, the first all-conference honor of her career ... tied for 19th at the NCAA West Regional (226) ... tied for 10th at the Pac-10 Championships (221) ... 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 69th and 83rd in the latest individual 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).
Lisa Meredith (Junior * Reading, England)Consistent player who has seen action in nine tournaments this season ... finished in a tie for 55th at the NCAA West Regional (237) ... 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 ranked 92nd in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin poll ... 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 and 3 in the lineup with a 76.17 stroke average ... is ranked 95th and 99th individually ... has played in six tournaments for the Sun Devils ... tied for 55th at the NCAA West Regional (237) ... finished in a tie for 13th at the Pac-10 Championships (222), her third top-20 appearance of the year ... 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 fall tournaments.
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 74.24 ... is ranked 20th and 21st in the latest individual polls ... earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors ... has seven top 25 showings this season ... turned in her third top-five showing of the year and her second straight with a third-place finish at the NCAA West Regional ... finished at three-under 213 at the NCAA West Regional, shooting a 71 in the first round and six-under 66 in the second, the lowest round for a Sun Devil since Grace Park opened the 1998 NCAA Championships with a pair of school-record 65s ... tied 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 then career-low 67 in the season round of the San Jose State tournament ... has turned in eight 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.