UCLA Earns Third Consecutive Pac-10 Championship

April 26, 2006

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TUCSON, Ariz. - The UCLA Bruins claimed the 20th annual Pac-10 Women's Golf Championship Wednesday at Oro Valley Country Club, posting an 879 (+15) total and holding off Arizona State by one-stroke.

'I'm still a little overwhelmed,' said UCLA head coach Carrie Forsyth. 'We lost one of our top players (Hannah Jun) before the season in an accident, and she couldn't participate with us this season. I want to dedicate this championship to Hannah. I want to thank this team for putting all their heart into this season. I am so proud of them.'

It was the third time in tournament history that the team title was decided by a single stroke. The last time that a Pac-10 Women's Golf Championship was won by one stroke was 1996 when Arizona State edged UCLA, 875-876, which was the last time the event was held in Tucson.

The Bruins, who took the lead in round two, were able to hang on to win its third consecutive Pac-10 Championship, despite shooting a tournament high 301 (+13) in round three.

Leading the way for the Bruins was Pac-10 Freshman-of-the-Year Tiffany Joh, who tied with California senior Sophia Sheridan for third place, shooting an even-par 216.

'It was a rough day for me honestly,' Joh said. The wind was blowing on the last few holes, the greens firmed up and the pins were tough. I just had to grind out there. Some shots felt good, but they would land in a bad place, and some bad shots ended up in good places.'

Despite a sixth-place finish by Washington, senior Paige Mackenzie claimed individual medalist honors, carding a five-under 211, which included a three-under 69 in the final round.

'It feels good. I struggled early on this season. I think my hard work paid off,' said Mackenzie. 'I played as well in this tournament as I had in any other tournament. I had only won one other event, so this is the pinnacle for me. It feels really good.'

Arizona State carded a 294 (+6), five strokes better than in round two, and finished with a tournament total of 880 (+16). The Sun Devils were the only team in the field to post a sub- 300 score in each round, Head coach Melissa Luellen was named as the Pac-10 Coach of the Year after the tournament.

'I would have rather won the Pac-10 trophy,' Luellen said. 'It's a wonderful honor, though, to be recognized by your peers. I very much appreciate the recognition we got for all the hard work we put in.'

Alissa Kuczka led the Sun Devils today, matching her first round score of 71 (-1) and finishing second with a one-under 215.

'I was playing really well today,' said Kuczka. 'I had no idea how the team was doing. I know a couple of my teammates were really cheering me on. It hurts to lose by one shot, but things happen like that.'

Senior Irene Cho led USC to its second consecutive third-place Pac-10 Championship finish, posting an 891 (+27). Cho, who was named first-team all-Pac-10 and the Pac-10 Player of the Year, carded a 72 (E) in the third round and finished in fifth place.

'I was just getting used to the yardage of these holes and the round ended right when I was starting to hit some shots,' Cho said. 'This is my last Pac-10's ever, so it's kind of sad. But I'm happy with how I played.'

Despite posting its highest score of the tournament in the final round, California finished in fourth place with a score of 896 (+32).

Host Arizona shot a 298 (+10) in the final round, joining Oregon as the only teams to post its best score in the final round. Arizona finished in fifth place, gaining two spots on the leader board in the final round.

'We didn't win the championship but I do feel like we had some victory,' said Arizona head coach Greg Allen. 'Our goal heading into today was to finish fifth, which we did.'

Next up for most of the Pac-10 teams will be the NCAA Regional, which will be held at three sites on May 11-13.

The Pac-10 Championships were contested at Oro Valley Country Club, a par 72, 6,495-yard layout.

Team Leader Board

1. UCLA 291-287-301=879 (+15)
2. Arizona State 287-299-294=880 (+16)
3. USC 293-302-296=891 (+27)
4. California 296-298-302=896 (+32)
5. Arizona 301-308-298=907 (+43)
6. Washington 308-300-302=910 (+46)
7. Stanford 299-311-302=912 (+48)
8. Oregon State 307-298-315=920 (+56)
9. Washington State 300-315-313=928 (+64)
10. Oregon 314-319-312=945 (+81)

Top-Five Individuals

1. Paige Mackenzie, Washington 71-71-69=211 (-5)
2. Alissa Kuczka, Arizona State 71-73-71=215 (-1)
3. Tiffany Joh, UCLA 71-72-73=216 (E)
3. Sophia Sheridan, California 73-72-71=216 (E)
5. Irene Cho, USC 71-76-72=219 (+3)

2006 Pacific-10 Conference Postseason Honors

Golfer of the Year: Irene Cho, USC

Freshman of the Year: Tiffany Joh, UCLA

Coach of the Year: Melissa Luellen, Arizona State


First Team

Azahara Munoz Arizona State Freshman
Jennifer Osborn Arizona State Freshman
Jane Park UCLA Freshman
Tiffany Joh UCLA Freshman
Irene Cho USC Senior
Paige Mackenzie Washington Senior

Second Team

Tiffany Tavee Arizona State Junior
Alissa Kuczka Arizona State Senior
Sofie Anderson California Senior
Sophia Sheridan California Senior
Amie Cochran UCLA Sophomore
Anastasia Kostina Washington State Senior

Honorable Mention (Received votes): Cathryn Bristow, Oregon; Amy Eneroth, Washington State; Lauren Espinosa, Arizona; Kelly Husted, Stanford; Catalina Marin, USC; Susie Mathews, UCLA; Paola Moreno, USC; Dewi-Claire Schreefel, USC; Jennifer Tangtiphaiboontana, Stanford; Amanda Wilson, Arizona; Adriana Zwanck, Arizona.

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