ASU Women's Golf Team Climbs to Seventh Place at NCAA East Regional
May 12, 2006
BROWNS SUMMIT, N.C. - The No. 3 Arizona State women's golf team came through with one of its most resilient efforts of the season on Friday. One day after a shooting a 19-over 307, the Sun Devils rebounded with a tourney-best four-under 284 and climbed into seventh place heading into Saturday's final round of the NCAA East Regional, being held at the par 72, 6,386-yard Bryan Park Golf Club.
Leading the way for top-seeded ASU, which started the day in 15th place, was senior Alissa Kuczka, who shot a career-low and tourney-best four-under 68 to pace the Sun Devils. For Kuczka, it was the fifth time in her last eight rounds that she has shot even par or better. Right behind Kuczka was freshman Jennifer Osborn, who shot a two-under 70.
'Coming off such a tough day and with all of the other scores being good we needed to have a spectacular round to get back into the tournament and that's just what we had today,' said ASU head coach Melissa Luellen. '(On Thursday) we looked tired and unfocused and seemed to be hitting shots all over the place. This team has been through a lot considering they just had finals and then the (three-hour) time change. I think it all finally caught up with them.
'After yesterday's round we focused on the team getting rest. We came back and ate at the hotel instead of going and waiting at a restaurant. And because we did not tee off today until the afternoon they were able to get a little more sleep, which I think really helped them. It looked like a much different team today.'
Every Sun Devil improved her respective score from Thursday's first round by at least four strokes. In addition to Kuczka and Osborn, who improved their scores by seven and five strokes, respectively, freshman Azahara Munoz (four fewer strokes), junior Tiffany Tavee (seven fewer strokes) and junior Charmaine Erasmus (seven fewer strokes) all came through with solid performances as well. Munoz and Tavee both carded a one-over 73 while Erasmus shot a seven-over 79.
'Alissa played a beautiful round of golf today,' said Luellen. 'Our three words for the day were calm, confident and focused and that's exactly what she was today along with the rest of the team.'
The LSU Tigers remained in first place after shooting an even par score of 288 for the second consecutive day. Moving up to second place was Tennessee (+2), whose score of two-under 286 on Friday was surpassed only by ASU's aforementioned four-under 284. California, which began the day tied for first, slipped two spots to third place (+7) after shooting a seven-over 295. Florida State moved up six spots to fourth place (+10) following a one-over 289. Alabama (fifth place, +12) and Wake Forest (sixth place, +13), maintained their sports after both schools shot a five-over 293.
The top eight finishers from the NCAA East Regional will qualify for the NCAA Championships taking place in Columbus, Ohio, later this month. The Sun Devils (+15) and No. 16 seeded North Carolina Tar Heels (+16) currently occupy the final two spots among the top eight teams heading into Saturday's final round. Seven schools are 10 or fewer strokes out of eighth place and four schools are four or fewer strokes from the final NCAA spot, including ninth-place South Carolina (+17), 10th-place Auburn (+18) and Virginia and Vanderbilt, who are both tied for 11th place (+20).
'We have to keep fighting,' said Luellen. 'We want to finish in the top three. Our goal today was to come out and win the day and we want to do the same thing again tomorrow.'
From an individual standpoint, Jenny Suh of Alabama remained in first place (-5) and Mandy Goins of Wake Forest and Marci Turner of Tennessee both remained tied for second place (-4) after all three golfers carded a two-under 70 on Friday. Caroline Martens of LSU moved up 20 spots to fourth place (-3) after shooting a four-under 68, which ties Kuczka for the lowest round in the tournament. A two-way tie for fifth place (-2) and a six-way tie for seventh place (-1) round out the top 10. Included in the tie for seventh place is Kuczka, who moved up 32 spots after finishing the first round tied for 39th. Also moving up from 39th place was Osborn, who climbed 25 spots into a three-way tie for 14th place (+1).
Other Sun Devil finishes from Friday's second round included Munoz, who is tied for 42nd place (+6); Tavee, who is tied for 73rd place (+9) and Erasmus, who is in 106th place (+21).
Play in the NCAA East Regional continues on Saturday with tee times starting at 8 a.m. EDT. Live scoring will be available for Saturday's final round at www.golfstatresults.com.
The Sun Devils will tee off at 9 a.m. EDT and will play with North Carolina and South Carolina.