Johnson Tied for First As No. 2 ASU Women's Golf Finished Tied for Third After Round 1

May 18, 2010

WILMINGTON, N.C. - Freshman Jennifer Johnson shares the top spot of the individual leaderboard as the No. 2 Arizona State women's golf team is tied for first following the opening round of the 2010 NCAA Championships. Held at the par 72, 6,368-yard Pete Dye Course at the Country Club of Landfall, The Sun Devils finished an even 288 to finish six shots behind leader USC and four shots off second-place Purdue. The Sun Devils battled back from a slow start and shot 7-under on the last five holes to climb into a tie for third with Duke and UCLA.

'Our start wasn't that stellar but our finish was very good. It was nervous out there today, I could feel the nerves myself,' said eighth year head coach Melissa Luellen. 'They seemed a little tight in the beginning and had just a fantastic finish. We played the last four holes extremely well to get to even par.'

Johnson showed no freshman jitters as she knocked in seven birdies, including four on the back nine, to finish 5-under 67. The freshman from California is currently tied with Maude-Aimee LeBlanc of Purdue and Jennifer Song of USC. Johnson has had five top 10 finishes this season and has placed in the top 15 seven times.

'I was really happy with how I played today,' said Johnson. 'I felt like I minimized my mistakes. We play for this all year and I just want to finish strong.'

'JJ switch shafts and into a new ball last week,' said Luellen. 'She loves the combination and is hitting it farther and making seven birdies doesn't hurt.'

Senior Juliana Murcia and sophomore Giulia Molinaro finished the round tied for 30th. Murcia rebounded after a slow start to finish the round 1-over 73. Molinaro used five birdies to overcome a double bogey on the par-3 8th Hole and a triple bogey on the par-4 11th Hole. She finished strong, making birdie on three of the last four holes.

'Giulia making a triple and a double and finishing plus-1 is very impressive,' said Luellen on her sophomore. 'We were working on keeping her in the present moment, because she carries some of those bad shots with her to the next hole and she did a fantastic job of leaving it behind her. I couldn't be more proud of Giulia.'

Jaclyn Sweeney shot 3-over 75 and ended the round with a birdie on the par-5 18th Hole. Carlota Ciganda carded 4-over 76 on the first round.

'We have to stay patient, it's a long tournament,' said Luellen about the upcoming rounds. 'The girls have to work on being focused which means' staying in the present moment.'

The Sun Devils will be paired with Tennessee and UCLA again tomorrow. They will tee off at 8:55 a.m. ET on Hole 10.

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