Women's Pac-10 Golf Championship: Day 1

April 23, 2007

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By Joshua Mayers

SEATTLE - The sun was out and the No. 1-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils were hot in the first round of the women's Pac-10 golf championship.

ASU's Anna Nordqvist shot a 4-under 68 to lead the field after day one; the No. 2-ranked freshman finished three strokes better than Stanford sophomore Mari Chun. USC's Paola Moreno finished third with at an even 72.

Nordqvuist, from Eskilstuna, Sweden, finished the first day bogey-free, capping off her round with birdies on No. 16 and No. 17.

'Anna played really beautiful golf, she's been our No. 1 all spring,' said ASU coach Melissa Luellen.

The Sun Devils finished with team score of 297, six strokes better than USC's 303. UCLA finished third with 305 strokes. ASU had four golfers in the top 15 - Juliana Murcia and No. 11 Azahara Munoz each finished with a 76, No. 5 Jennifer Osborn had a 77.

Despite holding a multiple stroke lead, Nordqvuist said that her team would not play any different in the next round.

'There's two rounds left, so there's a lot of golf to be played,' she said. 'If we want to win we're going to have to play really well.'

In tomorrow's pairing, Nordqvuist will be match up with No. 15 Moreno, who also finished with two birdies on the back nine.

'My putting was really solid today, it was definitely key to my round,' Moreno said. 'The weather was perfect, the greens were great, I'm not going to complain.'

Fellow Women of Troy Veronica Felibert, Dewi-Claire Schreefel (the 2006 NCAA champion) and Belen Mozo all finished in the top-20 to ensure USC's second-place finish.

'I think we could've done better, we left a lot of shots out there, mostly around the greens,' said USC coach Andrea Gaston. 'We haven't seen our best yet.'

Hometown-favorite Amber Prange finished tied for ninth with a 3-over 75. After a difficult back nine to start, the University of Washington senior shot one-under on the front to finish.

'Overall today my game was good, I was happy with how I played,' Prange said. 'At times I had to take my bogey and move on. Plus, I lipped out two birdies today so it could have been better.'

But in the end the day belonged to the nation's top team.

Last season, the Sun Devils finished one stroke behind the Pac-10 championships and fourth in the NCAA tournament. Coming into the Pac-10 championships they had won their last three tournaments.

With rain in Tuesday's forecast, Luellen - the reigning Pac-10 Coach of the Year - said her warm-weather team would be ready for some Seattle precipitation.

'Just because we're Sun Devils doesn't mean we can't play in the rain,' Luellen said.

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