ASU Women's Golf Team Advances to NCAA Championships with Fourth-Place Finish at NCAA East Regional
May 13, 2006
BROWNS SUMMIT, N.C. - Led by senior Alissa Kuczka, who carded a career-best round of four-under 68 for the second consecutive day, the No. 3 Arizona State women's golf team finished tied for fourth place at the NCAA East Regional held May 11-13 at the par 72, 6,386-yard Bryan Park Golf Club. By virtue of finishing in the top eight the Sun Devils gain an automatic berth to the NCAA Championships which will be held May 23-26 in Columbus, Ohio.
For the Sun Devils, Saturday's final round was the culmination of a three-day stretch that saw them climb from a 15th-place finish after the first round to posting the best score of the tournament in the second round and finally punching their ticket to the NCAA Championships for the 15th consecutive year on Saturday.
'What a comeback,' said Arizona State head coach Melissa Luellen. 'I could not me more impressed with what the players on this team accomplished. They kept fighting and had a belief in themselves that they were going to go out and perform well.'
ASU shot a one-under 287 in the final round to finish with a three-day total of 878 (307, 284, 287). Leading the way was Kuczka, who was the East Regional runner-up after posting a three-day total of 211 (75, 68, 68) to finish five-under par. For Kuczka it is the second time in as many tournaments that she finished as a runner-up after accomplishing the same feat at the Pac-10 Championships held last month in Tucson. Making her back-to-back 68s even more remarkable is that prior to Friday's second round she had shot under 70 one other time in the previous 129 rounds of her ASU career.
'To end with back-to-back 68s was pure experience and leadership coming through and that was great,' said Luellen. 'She never panicked or got flustered. It was just a beautiful display of golf.'
Finishing at even par for the day were junior Tiffany Tavee and freshman Jennifer Osborn. Osborn's final round gave her a three-day total of 217 (75, 70, 72), which was good for a tie for 12th place (+1). Also contributing to ASU's team score was freshman Azahara Munoz, who carded a three-over 75.
Tennessee won the NCAA East Regional with a three-round total of 864. The Lady Vols shot a two-under 286 on Saturday and won the tournament by six strokes. LSU, which led by two strokes coming into Saturday's final round, finished second (870) after shooting a six-over 294. California (874) and Florida State (878) finished in third and fourth place, respectively, the same spots they started from on Saturday. Tying Florida State was ASU, which moved up three spots after starting the final round in seventh place. Also qualifying for NCAAs from the East Region were Auburn (879), Wake Forest (883) and Alabama (887), which defeated Virginia in a playoff hole to claim the eighth and final spot.
Tennessee's Marci Turner took the individual medalist honors at the NCAA East Regional, finishing with a three-round total of 209 (-7), two strokes fewer than Kuczka.
Other Sun Devil finishes included Tavee (80, 73, 72) and Munoz (77,73,75), who both finished with a three day total of 225 to tie for 44th place (+9) and junior Charmaine Erasmus (86, 79, 79), who finished with a total of 244 to tie for 103rd place (+28).