Women's Golf Heads to Pac-10 Championships Thursday-Saturday
April 22, 2003
TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State women's golf team returns to action this week, heading to Corvallis, Ore., for the 2003 Pac-10 Conference Championships. Oregon State University will play host to the tournament Thursday-Saturday, April 24-26 at the par 72, 6,160-yard Trysting Tree Country Club. Coming off top 10 finishes in four of their last five events, the Sun Devils will be looking to capture their first Pac-10 title since 1996 and their 10th league title overall. Arizona State are seeded sixth at this year's championships and will play with No. 4 seed UCLA and No. 5 seed Washington in Thursday's first round.
Live scoring for the 2003 Pac-10 Championships will be available for each round at www.golfstat.com, while a recap will also be available at the conclusion of each round on ASU's official web site at www.thesundevils.com.
ASU'S LINEUP: ASU's lineup will feature senior Blair O'Neal (Tempe, Ariz.), freshman Alissa Kuczka (Phoenix, Ariz.), senior Melanie Hunt (Phoenix, Ariz.), senior Gaï¿½lle Truet (New Caledonia) and sophomore Erin Tone (Gilbert, Ariz.). Freshman Meredith Jones (Eugene, Ore.) will play in the tournament as an individual.
ABOUT THE PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS: Eighteen holes will be played each day with tee times beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday and Friday and at 8 a.m. on Saturday. First-round team pairings are based on seeding, while second- and third-round pairings are based on team total and individual total within the team. The top four scores from each five-person team will count toward the team score. In the event of a tie for the team championship, co-champions shall be named. In the event of a tie for the individual championship, a sudden death playoff shall determine the champion.
PAC-10 HISTORY: Last year, Arizona captured its third straight Pac-10 team championship (891) with an eight-stroke victory over Stanford (899), while Arizona State's Jimin Kang won the individual title, besting Lorena Ochoa, the top-ranked player in the nation at the time, by one stroke. The Sun Devils tied for third with California with a three-day total of 908 at last year's event, which was held at the Walla Walla (Wash.) Country Club.
Other Sun Devil finishers included Erin Tone who tied for 12th, Melanie Hunt who tied for 34th, Blair O'Neal and Gaï¿½lle Truet who each tied for 39th and Josefin Gustafsson who finished in a tie for 46th playing as an individual. Kang was named a first-team All-Pac-10 selection by the league's coaches, while O'Neal and Truet earned honorable-mention accolades.
Five different schools have won Pac-10 titles in the 16-year existence of the league. Arizona State leads the way with six Pac-10 team crowns, most recently with four straight from 1993-96, while Arizona has held a lock on the Pac-10 in recent years, winning five of the last six team titles. Jimin Kang's win last year gave Arizona State its ninth Pac-10 individual title and the first since Grace Park in 1999. A total of seven Sun Devils have won Pac-10 individual titles, including two-time conference medalist Wendy Ward.
The Sun Devils won the Pac-10 title the last time Trysting Tree Country Club played host to the Pac-10 Championships, capturing the 1995 league crown with a Pac-10 record six-under par total of 858. ASU earned a 33-stroke victory over UCLA that year and fired a course-record 282 in the final round, while Wendy Ward turned in a one-stroke individual victory to lead the Sun Devils to the third of four straight Pac-10 titles (1993-96).
THE FIELD: Seven Pac-10 schools are ranked in the top 30 in the April 21 Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. USC is the highest ranked team, checking in at fifth, followed by No. 6 Arizona, No. 8 California, No. 13 UCLA, No. 20 Washington, No. 27 Arizona State and No. 28 Stanford. The field of individuals features 19 players who are ranked in the national top 100.
2002-03 ASU STROKE AVERAGES:Name App Top 10 Rounds Strokes Avg. LowMelanie Hunt 3 0 9 702 78.00 75Meredith Jones 4 0 10 806 80.60 72Alissa Kuczka 8 2 23 1753 76.22 72Blair O'Neal 8 2 23 1760 76.52 72Erin Tone 7 2 20 1569 78.45 68Gaï¿½lle Truet 6 1 18 1414 78.56 70
STRONG SPRING: Arizona State has finished in the top four in three of the last five events, including a third-place showing at the Arizona Wildcat Invitational in February and a fourth-place effort at the San Jose State Spartan Invitational in March. Most recently, the Sun Devils turned in their fourth top 10 finish of the year, taking seventh at the team's own PING/ASU Invitational at Karsten Golf Course. This spring, the Sun Devils have carded seven of their top 12 rounds of the year including a season-low four-under 284 in the first round of the Spartan Invitational. In the team's last three events, ASU has averaged 299.22 strokes per round, down from its season average of 307.00.
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.
UP NEXT: Following the Pac-10 Championships, Arizona State will return home to play host to the 2003 NCAA West Regional Championships which will be held May 8-10 at ASU Karsten Golf Course in Tempe. A total of 63 teams will qualify for the three NCAA Regionals (East, West and Central) with the top eight teams in each region advancing to the NCAA Championships. Purdue University will host the 2003 NCAA Championships May 20-23 at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex in West Lafayette, Ind.