No. 1 Women's Golf Ventures to Tennessee for Mason Rudolph Championship

Sept. 23, 2009

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This Week --
After starting the season with a win at the TOPY Cup, the No. 1 Arizona State women's golf team heads to Tennessee for the Mason Rudolph Women's Championship. The Sun Devils will look to improve on last year's fifth place finish at the tournament. The tournament will take place at the par-72, 6,217 yard Vanderbilt Legends Club North Course in Franklin, Tenn., and will run September 25-27.

Line-Up
1. Jaclyn Sweeney
2. Juliana Murcia
3. Carlota Ciganda
4. Giulia Molinaro
5. Jennifer Johnson

About the Mason Rudolph Invitational --
Vanderbilt University is the host of the ninth annual Mason Rudolph Women's Championship. The tournament is stacked with some of the nation's top talent as 12 of the 17 teams are ranked in the Golf World/NGCA Top 25. The field includes: No. 2 USC, No. 3 UCLA, No. 4 Oklahoma State, No. 7 Alabama, No. 8 Auburn, No. 9 Virginia, No. 10 Duke, No. 11 LSU, No. 14 Georgia, No. 17 Arizona, No. 21 Vanderbilt, No. 22 Stanford, No. 26 Texas, No. 29 Florida, No. 31 Tulane and No. 47 South Carolina.

Devils Finish On Top at TOPY Cup --
The Sun Devils picked up right where they left off and took first at the TOPY Cup with a 26-stroke lead over second-place Wake Forest. Three ASU golfers went 1-2-3 as Jaclyn Sweeney claimed medalist honors with Juliana Murcia finishing runner-up and Carlota Ciganda tying for third.

Defending NCAA Champions --
The Sun Devils claimed their first NCAA Championship since 1998, and seventh overall, last season at the Caves Valley Golf Course in Owings Mills, Md. The Sun Devils came back from an 11 stroke deficit after the second round to win by eight shots. ASU also won NCAA team titles in 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997 and 1998.

Returning All-Americans --
The Sun Devils return three All-Americans to their 2009-10 squad. Carlota Ciganda's outstanding freshman season was recognized as she received First-Team All-American honors. Senior Juliana Murcia took home Second-Team honors at the end of last season. Jaclyn Sweeney had earned All-American honors in 2008 from Golfweek while playing for Oklahoma State.

Preseason No. 1 --
After claiming their seventh NCAA title and first in 11 years, the Arizona State women's golf team will enter the 2009-10 season as the number one team in the Golf World/ NGCA Division I Preseason Coaches' Poll. The team received 34 of 41 first place votes. This is the first time the Sun Devils have been voted into the top spot since Melissa Luellen took over as head coach just prior to the 2002-03 season. Fellow Pac-10 teams ranked in the top 5 include No. 2 Southern California and No.3 UCLA.

Four Players to Watch (According to Golf World) --
Four Sun Devils ranked in the 'Top 50 Female Players to Watch.' Reigning Pac-10 Champion sophomore Carlota Ciganda is the preseason No. 2 golfer after finishing the previous season with first-team All-American honors. Following an exciting summer capped by a runner-up finish at the U.S. Amateur and spot on the victorious U.S. Solheim Team, Jennifer Johnson enters the season as the No. 7 golfer in her first season playing at the collegiate level. Senior Juliana Murcia (second-team All-American) and junior Jaclyn Sweeney are ranked in the top 50.

A Team of Youngins --
Despite the team's preseason No. 1 ranking and returning three starters from last season, the Sun Devils 2009-10 squad will be full of youth and inexperience as a Sun Devil. Only seniors Murcia and Liisa Kelo will have been at ASU for more than a semester. Junior Sweeney transferred in last January after competing for Oklahoma State the year and a half prior while now-sophomores Ciganda and Giulia Molinaro came to school in January as well. The Sun Devils will also boast five freshmen on their 10-woman squad.

Jackie Medals in Japan --
Junior Sweeney took on the TOPY Cup field, shooting a 5-under 211 (70-72-69) to claim her first medalist honor as a Sun Devil. Winning by one-stroke over teammate Murcia, Sweeney now has two collegiate tournament victories on her resume as she won the Big 12 Championship as a freshman at Oklahoma State.

Checking in with Carlota --
Reigning Pac-10 Champion Ciganda had quite a busy summer. The sophomore from Pamplona, Spain broke her country's low round record, shooting a carded a stunning 8-under 64 in the first round of the Spanish Individual National Championship early in the summer. She followed that up with a runner-up finish at the Ladies British Amateur, finishing second to former Sun Devil standout and compatriot Azahara Munoz. Ciganda also competed in the British Women's Open.

Johnsonn's Summer Journey --
Freshman Jennifer Johnson had quite the summer. The La Quinta, Calif., native travelled the country with her father, competing in several events. Johnson was a finalist at the U.S. Women's Amateur, finishing runner-up to USC's Jennifer Song. Johnson was also a member of the victorious Junior Solheim Team and a quarter-finalist at the U.S. Girls' Junior Champion.

We're On Facebook! ---
ASU women's golf has joined the Facebook world. Search for Arizona State Women's Golf and become a fan. The site is updated frequently and includes insight to the program, video and photo galleries of the returning NCAA Champions. Click here to become a fan of ASU Women's Golf on Facebook!

Did You Know? --
Alessia Knight may have been born and raised in Italy, but the freshman has been a Sun Devil fan since birth. Knight's father, John Knight, played on the ASU football team in the 1980s and Knight's grandparents reside in Chandler, a local suberb. Coming to ASU and playing on the women's golf team fulfills a lifelong team for Knight.

Super Coaches --
Head coach Melissa Luellen and associate head coach Missy Farr-Kaye garnered several awards after last season's success. Luellen was named Sky-Caddie NGCA Coach of the Year, Pac-10 Coach of the Year and West Region Coach of the Year. For another side note, it is believe she and her mother (the legendary Tulsa women's golf coach who led the Golden Hurricane to four national titles) became the first mother-daughter duo to win NCAA Championships at different schools. Farr-Kaye's determination and courage shown last season through dealing with recoverying from a recurrence of breast cancer while coaching was awarded as she was named the recipient of the Kim Moore Spirit Award and was also a co-winner of the Golden Heart Award at the ASU Sparky Awards.

Next Up --
The Bay Area awaits for the Sun Devils as they will compete in the Stanford Intercollegiate. The tournment, which takes place at the Stanford Golf Course, will run October 16-18.

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