Women's Golf to Open Fall Season Monday at Northrup Grunman Regional Challenge

Feb. 8, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State women's golf team opens the 2003 spring season this week at the eighth annual Northrup Grunman Regional Challenge, being held Monday-Wednesday, Feb. 10-12 at the par 71, 5,912-yard Palos Verdes Golf Club in Palos Verdes, Calif.

Play begins at 9 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (10 a.m. Mountain) on Monday and Tuesday, while Wednesday's final round will begin with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. Pacific (9:30 a.m. Mountain). Live scoring for the Northrup Grunman Regional Challenge which is hosted by Ohio State University, will be available at www.golfstat.com.

THE LINEUP: ASU's lineup will include senior Blair O'Neal (Tempe, Ariz.), freshman Alissa Kuczka (Phoenix, Ariz.), sophomore Josefin Gustafsson (Falkoping, Sweden), sophomore Erin Tone (Gilbert, Ariz.) and freshman Meredith Jones (Eugene, Ore.).

THE FIELD: The Northrup Grunman Regional Challenge features 18 of the top women's golf programs from the West, Central and East regions. Fourteen of the teams are ranked in the top 25 in the nation in the latest Golfweek poll, while 17 of the 18 squads qualified for the NCAA Championships last year. Arizona State is ranked 42nd in the latest national poll.

2002-03 ASU STROKE AVERAGES:

Name	App	Top 10	Rounds	Strokes	Avg.	LowBeatriz 'Cucu' Conti	1	0	2	156	78.00	77Josefin Gutafsson	3	0	9	704	78.22	76Melanie Hunt	2	0	6	472	78.67	77Meredith Jones	2	0	5	407	81.40	76Sara Jones	3	2	8	617	77.13	72Alissa Kuczka	4	1	12	926	77.17	72Blair O'Neal	4	1	12	917	76.42	72Erin Tone	3	0	9	733	81.44	77Ga�lle Truet	3	0	9	729	81.00	71

LAST YEAR AT THE REGIONAL CHALLENGE: Arizona State finished fourth at last year's TRW Regional Challenge with two players turning in top 10 showings. The Sun Devils turned in a three-day total of 902, which was just two strokes behind third place Oklahoma State. Tulsa won the tournament with a three-day total of 870. Individually, Jimin Kang finished ninth in her third top 10 showing of the season (74-73-74=221), while junior Ga�lle Truet cracked the top 10 for the first time of year, tying for 10th at nine-over 222 (73-74-75). Arizona's Lorena Ochoa captured medalist honors, carding a three-round total of seven-under 206 (72-66-68).

FALL 2002 WRAP-UP: Under the direction of first-year head coach Melissa McNamara Luellen, the Sun Devils opened the 2002-03 season at the NCAA Fall Preview where the team finished 18th out of 18 teams, but the squad steadily improved as the fall season went on, finishing 11th at the Dick McGuire Invitational and 12th at the Stanford Intercollegiate. Led by Alissa Kuczka, one of three true freshmen to see action in the fall for the Sun Devils, ASU turned in its first top five finish of the year in its last outing of the fall, the UNC-Wilmington Landfall Tradition. The Sun Devils took third at the Landfall Tradition, just four strokes off the lead, and turned in three of their four best rounds of the year, including a season-best eight-over 296 on the final day. A total of four Sun Devils finished in the top 20 at the Landfall Tradition, including Kuczka who was seventh, senior Blair O'Neal and freshman Sara Jones who each tied for eighth and sophomore Josefin Gustafsson who tied for 20th. O'Neal led the team in the fall with a 76.42 stroke average and was closely followed by Jones and Kuczka who finished the fall at 77.13 and 77.17 strokes per round, respectively.

HEAD COACH MELISSA McNAMARA LUELLEN: Melissa McNamara Luellen is in her first year as the head coach of the Arizona State women's golf team. Luellen came to ASU after two seasons as the head coach at her alma mater, the University of Tulsa. A former All-American for the Golden Hurricane, she succeeded her mother, Dale McNamara, who retired in 2000 following a 26-year career that saw her Tulsa teams win four national championships. In her two seasons as Tulsa's head coach, Luellen led her team to seven tournament titles including back-to-back Western Athletic Conference and NCAA Central Regional championships. She also earned WAC Coach of the Year honors in each of her two seasons and was the 2002 Central Regional Coach of the Year.

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