Ciganda Tied for First, But Team Forced to Withdraw Due to Illness

April 20, 2010

Sophomore Carlota Ciganda is tied for first but the Arizona State women's golf team defense of their Pacific-10 Championship came to an abrupt halt this morning as two players were forced to withdraw due to illness. Freshman star Jennifer Johnson did not even tee off and sophomore Giulia Molinaro could not finish as an unknown virus struck the two players.

'We have no idea what it was,' said eighth year head coach Melissa Luellen on the illness. 'They're both in bed. It hit Jen so fast this morning; I have never seen anything hit someone so fast. Giulia tried to play, since there was no way Jen could, and could not finish. She ended up having to get two bags of IV fluid.'

While the Sun Devils could continue on with four players, having only three on the course forced them out of the team championship. Despite this, the remaining three players finished the second round in the top 15 individually. Any of the three individuals can still win medalist honors.

'We're out teamwise. We have three in the top 15 right now with two in the top five,' continued Luellen. 'It is such a shame, because the girls were playing so well, they are devastated. Everything happens for a reason though, and there is a reason we're getting this challenge. This is the neatest group of ladies I've ever coached and we'll be fine. They're a resilient bunch. Carlota and July said their wish for this tournament is to be co-champions.'

Reigning Pac-10 Champion Carlota Ciganda looks to be a serious threat to defend her title. The sophomore will go into the final round tied for first with UCLA's Stephanie Kono. Ciganda carded 1-under 143 (71-72).

'Carlota just played great today,' said Luellen. 'The conditions were tough today. It was raining and the course played so much harder than yesterday. Every pin had to be pushed back because there was water on the green. When you're in Oregon, you just keep playing through the team.'

Juliana Murcia finished the day tied for fourth at 1-over 145 (68-77). Jaclyn Sweeney also finished in the top 15, coming in at 4-over 148 (72-76).

The team will be paired with Washington State tomorrow.

'It just goes to show you that anything can happen to any team, at any time,' concluded Luellen.

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