No. 1 Women's Golf Storms Back to Finish Round Three One Shot Out of First

May 21, 2009

The top-ranked Arizona State women's golf team stormed back and is now one shot behind leader USC after three rounds at the 2009 NCAA Championships, held at the par 72 6,443-yard Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md. The Sun Devils fired a 3-over 291 third round to enter the final round 27-over 891 (302-298-291). The Sun Devils will enter the final day in second behind defending NCAA Champions USC.

'I think they were really, really determined today,' said seventh-year head coach Melissa Luellen. 'They had a different feel and I had a different energy in myself. There was such determination from everyone in the group. They had some challenges out there and they finally stayed patient. If they got a little frustrated, they righted the ship really quickly.'

Jaclyn Sweeney fired a season-low round of 3-under 69. Carding three straight birdies on the front nine and two on the back, the sophomore shot her first round under-par since the UCF Challenge in March. Sweeney is currently tied for eighth place at 6-over 222 (76-77-69).

'It was really great for her to make some putts,' said Luellen on Sweeney. 'She's been hitting the ball really well and giving herself some changes. It was like a little breakthrough.'

Azahara Munoz continued to stay patient as she made par on the first round. Munoz, known as one of the best ball-strikers in the NCAA, knocked in two birdies during the day. She is tied for fifth at 5-over 221 (78-71-72). Jennifer Osborn continued her steady play. The senior made a birdie on the par 4 14th Hole to make up ground and finished 3-over 75. She is currently tied for 20th at 8-over 224 (75-74-75).

'Both of our seniors have been wonderful leaders,' said Luellen. 'They have shared their maturity and their calmness with the younger ones. The girls follow them.'

Carlota Ciganda also shot 3-over 75 in the third round. Ciganda recovered from two double bogeys with a birdie on Hole 11 and one on Hole 16. The freshman star has shot a 9-over 225 (74-76-75). Juliana Murcia carded a 4-over 76 in the third round. She is currently 14-over 230 (77-77-76).

'I'm just really proud that we will have a shot to win this thing tomorrow,' said Luellen. 'It will be fun to play with UCLA and USC. We know we can play and we know now we can play this course well.'

The Sun Devils will be paired with two familiar faces tomorrow as they tee off with UCLA and USC at 1:00 p.m. ET off Hole 1. The Sun Devils have faced UCLA six times this season and USC eight.

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