No. 2 ASU Women's Golf Team Begins 2006-07 Season in Albuquerque

Sept. 10, 2006

The second-ranked Arizona State women's golf team begins its season on Monday when it competes in the 28th annual Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational at the 6,069-yard, par-73 UNM Championship Course in Albuquerque, N.M.

FIELD

The 16-team field for the tournament includes Arizona State, BYU, Florida, Hawai'i, UNLV, New Mexico State, North Carolina-Wilmington, Oregon, San Diego State, San Francisco, South Carolina, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UTEP.

LINE-UP

The line-up for the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational features sophomore Jennifer Osborn, sophomore Azahara Munoz, freshman Anna Nordqvist, freshman Juliana Murcia, and senior Lindsay Anderson. Junior Brooke Todare will compete as an individual.

HEAD COACH Melissa Luellen

2006 Pac-10 Coach of the Year Melissa Luellen is in her fifth year as the head coach of the Arizona State University women's golf team. Last year, she guided the Sun Devils to a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships, ASU's first top five showing since 1999. The Sun Devils finished in the top five in 11 of 12 events in 2005-06, including a pair of tournament victories and a second-place finish at the Pac-10 Championships.

In 2004-05, ASU finished eighth at the NCAA Championships and had a total of nine top-five showings, including wins in three tournaments.

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 Region Coach of the Year.

Luellen spent 11 years on the LPGA Tour, winning the 1991 Stratton Mountain LPGA Classic and teaming with Mike Springer to win the 1993 JCPenney Classic. She was also elected to the LPGA Executive Committee in her final two years on the tour and is currently a non-exempt member of the LPGA.

QUOTES FROM Melissa Luellen

On being ranked No. 2 in the Golf World Coaches Poll:

'I'm thrilled. I'm on the Golf World Coaches poll this year and I actually ranked us number two. So I was glad to think that my peers would also think that we would deserve a No. 2 ranking. Preseason is preseason, but we think that we should be at least ranked in the top three.'

On expectations for this week's tournament:

'We want to win. The girls came up with goals for the year and every single time we walk into a new tournament, we walk in with the expectation to win. Last year we had shots to win and we were kind of the underdog. We have to get past that. We need to get used to being in the lead. We need to get used to winning tournaments by ten or 15 shots.'

On playing against ranked teams in the first tournament:

'[The ranked teams] are all very good teams and have improved a lot, just like we have. I don't think it will be a cake walk. I think it could be very dangerous. We have a lot to prove and a young team out there. Anything can happen. It is a great golf course. It is the site of the 2008 national championship. I really want to get our younger players out there in preparation for next year.'

On freshmen Nordqvist and Murcia competing in their first collegiate tournament:

'I think they will play well. Anna had a great summer. She is a fierce competitor. Juliana says she loves fast greens and there are fast greens in Albuquerque. I think they will do well as long as they don't put too much pressure on themselves. There will be some adjustments. I hope that I do a good job at preparing them for the tournament so that there aren't any surprises for them out there.'

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