No. 1 Women's Golf Seeks Eighth Pac-10 Title

April 21, 2009

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This Week --
The No. 1 Arizona State women's golf team heads to Silicon Valley to compete in the Pacific-10 Women's Golf Championship presented by Duramed. The tournament will be held at the par-71, 6,117 yard Stanford Golf Course in Stanford, Calif. With the nation's top three teams in the conference, it is undoubtedly the toughest conference championship this season. The Pac-10 field includes No. 1 Arizona State, No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 USC, No. 21 Arizona, No. 24 Stanford, No. 26 California, No. 36 Oregon, No. 40 Washington, No. 64 Oregon State and No. 71 Washington State. (Rankings by Golfweek) The Sun Devils will tee off at 9:50 a.m. PT. Live stats will be available on www.golfstat.com

Line-Up
1. Azahara Munoz
2. Carlota Ciganda
3. Juliana Murcia
4. Jaclyn Sweeney
5. Jennifer Osborn

Leaders of the Pac-10 --
Known as one of the toughest conferences in college golf, the Pac-10 Conference has produced 12 NCAA Championships with six of those coming from ASU. With seven conference titles, Sun Devils have garnered more conference titles than any other team in the Conference of Champions. The Sun Devils also have the most individual medalists with nine, which is more than twice as many as any other school. The Sun Devils last won the Pac-10 Championships in 2007 and Louise Stahl in 2005 was the team's last Pac-10 individual champion.
Note: In all, there have been 14 conference medalists in ASU's illustrious history. The Sun Devils did not join the Pac-10 until fall 1986.

The Battle Between 1 & 2 --
Arizona State and UCLA have gone back and forth all season as who is the top team in the country. It is no surprise then that two will be paired up together for the Pac-10 Championships. Currently, the Sun Devils are No. 1 according to Golfweek/Sagarin while the Bruins are No. 1 by Golfstat. In head-to-head competition, the Bruins hold a 3-2 advantage over the Sun Devils. Looking at individual rankings (Golfweek and Golf Stat), the Sun Devils have three golfers (Munoz, Ciganda, Murcia) in the top 20 while the Bruins have two (Stephanie Kono and Tiffany Joh).

At Last Year's Pac-10 Championships --
The Sun Devils placed third at last year's Pac-10 Championships behind winner USC and UCLA. Three Sun Devils placed in the top 10. Former Sun Devil Anna Nordqvist was the runner-up to UCLA's Tiffany Joh while Azahara Munoz placed seventh. Juliana Murcia took ninth.

Playing With the Pros --
Munoz competed as an amateur at the Kraft Nabisco Invitational held at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. The 2008 NCAA Champion made the cut after the first two rounds and finished tied for 40th. Jennifer Johnson, a 2009 NLI signee, was also given an exemption to the Kraft Nabisco Invitational.Also earning an amateur exemption, ASU freshman Carlota Ciganda competed at the J Golf Phoenix LPGA International. The Spaniard carded a 3-under 69 at the Amateur Qualifier to claim her spot at the prestigious event. She carded a 12-over 156 (77-79) before missing the cut.

Did You Know?
Ciganda has currently shot four eagles this season, more than any other golfer and is No. 1 on par five scoring. Remember, Ciganda did not begin the season until January. Munoz is also No. 1 on pars per round and has the lowest average of bogeys per round. Munoz is currently ranked third on par 4 scoring. (Golfstat.com)

Three Times On Top --
Despite playing without their No. 1 and No. 2 players of the fall, the Sun Devils took home their third tournament championship of the season in Palos Verdes, Calif., earlier this year. Topping No. 2 UCLA and No. 3 USC on one of their local courses, the team shot a 46-over 898 (305-294-299) to win the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge.

Much Deserved Recognition --
Azahara Munoz was recently recognized for her NCAA Championship. Last week, Munoz was honored at the halftime of the NCAA Men's Basketball West Regional Final in Glendale, Ariz. Munoz and Coach Luellen watched the game from the stands, then Munoz left the following day for Rancho Mirage.

Much Ado About Munoz---
Reigning NCAA Individual Champion Munoz comes back for more as she looks to cap her Sun Devil career in superior fashion. After resting for two tournament as she recovered from a minor wrist surgery, the senior has placed in the top 10 in both tournaments competed in thus far this spring. Munoz, whose win at the NCAA Championships last season marked her first collegiate tournament victory, entered the season ranked No. 2 in the Golf World/NGCA poll. The native of Malaga, Spain tied for second at The Derby Invitational, carding 5-under (shot par at the NCAA Fall Preview to tie for fourth. After missing the PING/ASU Invitational to compete in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Munoz will be with the team for the rest of the season.

Sweet Sweeney --
Jaclyn Sweeney has placed in the top 10 in two tournaments this spring and likely could have placed in a third had she not been forced to withdraw from the PING/ASU Invitational due to extreme illness. After tying for sixth at the UCF Challenge, Sweeney carded a 4-over 220 (73-74-73) to tie for 10th at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational. Sweeney earned first-team All-American honors from Golfweek.com last season while at Oklahoma State. Sweeney is healthy now and will take the fourth spot in the lineup for this week's conference championships.

Settling in Just Fine --
Placing in the top 10 in four of the five tournaments of the spring, Carlota Ciganda has had no problems adjusting to U.S. soil. The Spanish freshman tied for second in her ASU debut at the Northrop Grumman. Ciganda followed that performance up with a one-shot-out-of-first third place finish at the Wildcat and tied for fifth at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational. At the PING/ASU Invitational, Ciganda had the second-lowest score for the Sun Devils and placed ninth. Ciganda is currently ranked in top 10 in all individual rankings.

Murcia Shows No Mercy --
After starting the Northrop Grumman as the team's No. 4 player, junior Juliana Murcia had the best tournament of her collegiate career and finished as the tournament medalist. Battling through rain, near freezing temperatures and 40 mph winds, the junior shot 1-over 214 (70-71-73) to help lead the Sun Devils to their third team title of the season. Murcia beat out teammate Carlota Ciganda for first by eight shots for her first collegiate tournament win. Aided by a career-low 5-under 67 in the first round, Murcia carded her second top 10 finish of the season with a seventh place finish at the Wildcat and was the Sun Devils top finisher at their home tournament coming in at sixth place.

All About Osborn --
After a tough junior season, Jennifer Osborn has come on strong in her final year at ASU. The senior has finished in the top 20 four times this season including three top-10 performances. At the Wildcat, Osborn shot two rounds under par to jump up to seventh on the final day. Osborn recorded her third top-10 performance at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational. Playing as an individual, Osborn reclaimed her spot in the lineup with a ninth place finish.

Nationally Honored --
The Sun Devils' stellar spring start was recognized by two national golf publications. Murcia was named Player of the Week by both Golfweek.com and Golf World. The team was also honored as Team of the Week by Golfweek.com. The team had previously been tabbed Team of the Week for their win at the NCAA Fall Preview in September and Anna Nordqvist was named Player of the Week for her win at The Derby.

Fall Recap --
The Sun Devils will head into the spring after a successful season. Sporting only five players on their roster, the team took home first place trophies in two tournaments. The Sun Devils won the NCAA Fall Preview, which features most of the nation's top teams, for the first time since 1994. After a fifth place finish at the Mason Randolph, the team decided to end the fall the way they started it, with a win. They did just that, capturing first place at The Derby.

Next Up ---
The Sun Devils will stay home for the NCAA West Regional. The team will host 20 other teams at the Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Ariz., May 7-9.

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