Women's Golf to Open 2003-04 Season Thursday at Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational

Sept. 23, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. - The No. 19 Arizona State women's golf team opens its fall season this weekend as the team travels to Albuquerque, N.M., for the 25th annual Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 25-27, hosted by the University of New Mexico.

Participants will play 18 holes each day on the par 73, 6,069-yard UNM Championship Course, regarded as one of the finest collegiate facilities in the nation. The Sun Devils will play with Baylor and New Mexico State in the first round, teeing off at 8:30 a.m. MST on Thursday. Tee times Friday start at 8:30 a.m., while Saturday's final round begins at 8 a.m. The top four individual scores will count toward the team total each day.

Live scoring for the Dick McGuire Invitational will be available each day at www.golfstat.com.

LINEUP: ASU's lineup for the Dick McGuire Invitational will feature freshman Tiffany Tavee (Gilbert, Ariz.), sophomore Alissa Kuczka (Phoenix, Ariz.), redshirt freshman Danelle Perata (Vacaville, Calif.), junior Jamie Michaud (University Place, Wash.) and freshman Charmaine Erasmus (Bradenton, Fla.).

THE FIELD: This year's Dick McGuire Invitational features six teams in Golf World's preseason top 25. The tournament field includes Baylor, BYU, Colorado State, Hawai'I, No.18 New Mexico, New Mexico State, No.4 Oklahoma State, No. 14 Pepperdine, San Diego State, Texas A&M, TCU, Texas Tech, No. 25 Tulsa, No. 24 UNLV, UTEP, Wyoming.

LAST YEAR AT THE DICK MCGUIRE INVITATIONAL: Half of the golfers that ASU took to last year's Dick McGuire Invitational are back this year. Last year, the Sun Devil women finished 11th as Alissa Kuczka led the way with a nine-over 228 (74-79-75 and finished in a tie for 23rd. Senior Blair O'Neal tied for 45th (83-72-81=236), while senior Melanie Hunt finished in a tie for 49th with a three-day total of 237 (77-77-83), Rounding out the Sun Devil lineup were Josefin Gustafsson who tied for 55th at 239 (83-76-80) and Meredith Jones who finished 85th (87-83-78). Erin Tone played as an individual and tied for 86th (85-87-77=249).

SUN DEVILS IN THE RANKINGS: The Arizona State women's golf team, which finished 18th at the NCAA Championships last year, begins the 2003-04 campaign in the national top 20, coming in at 19th in Golf World's preseason rankings. Golfweek has the Sun Devils at 29th in the magazine's preseason poll.

FOUR NEWCOMERS JOIN SUN DEVIL SQUAD: The 2003-04 ASU women's golf squad welcomes four newcomers to the mix, including three freshmen and a transfer. Lindsay Anderson (Fr., El Paso, Texas) arrives as a four-year all-city and all-district performer. She was the winner of the 2002 Andrews Invitational and claimed second-place in the El Paso City Championship.

Nicole Deacon (Jr., Scottsdale, Ariz.) transferred to ASU from San Jose State where she was named the 2002 WAC Freshman of the Year. She was an all-region performer all four years at Saguaro High School and earned all-state honors three years. Deacon was the 2001 Arizona state high school champion and was the runner-up in 2000.

Charmaine Erasmus (Fr., Bradenton, Fla.) comes to Tempe from Florida where she attended the Bradenton Academy. An FCWT All-American in 2002 and 2003 and an AJGA All-American in 2002, Erasmus, who was born in South Africa, finished second in AJGA at Abacoa and won the Optimist International.

Tiffany Tavee (Fr., Gilbert, Ariz.) was the 2002 Arizona state high school champion and earned Arizona Girl Golfer of the Year honors for her efforts. She finished 10th at the AJGA Betsy Rawls Girls Championships and seventh at the AJGA PING Phoenix.

HEAD COACH MELISSA LUELLEN: Melissa Luellen is in her second year as the head coach of the Arizona State women's golf team. In her initial year at the helm of the program, she guided the Sun Devils to five top-five finishes, including top three placings at the Landfall Tradition and the Wildcat Invitational. Last year, the Sun Devils also advanced to the NCAA Championships for the 12th straight year, which is the third-longest active streak in the country.

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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