Women's Golf Heads to NCAA West Regional Thursday-Saturday

May 6, 2002

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Coming off its third-place showing at the Pac-10 Championships, the Arizona State women's golf team returns to action this week at the NCAA West Regional Championships, being held Thursday-Saturday, May 9-11 at par 72, 6,168-yard Stanford Golf Course in Palo Alto, Calif. The 10th-ranked and second-seeded Sun Devils will be looking to capture their first NCAA West Regional title since 1997 and finish in the top five for the ninth time in 10 years. The selection marks Arizona State's 10th consecutive invitation in 10 years of NCAA regional action. This year's NCAA West Regional features 13 teams ranked in the top 50, including nine of the top 25 teams in the nation.

About the NCAA West RegionalEighteen holes will be played Thursday through Saturday, May 9-11 beginning at 7:30 a.m. Pacific time from tees No. 1 and No. 10. First- and second-round pairings are predetermined based on seeding, while final-round pairings will be based on team results after the first two rounds. The top four scores from each five-person team will count toward the team score. Arizona State will be paired with Arizona and UCLA in the first and second rounds, going off at 7:40 a.m. from No. 1 on Thursday and at 11:50 a.m. from No. 10 on Friday.

Last year, Arizona State finished sixth at the NCAA West Regional, held at the Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis, Ore., while then true freshman Jimin Kang was the top individual finisher for the Sun Devils with a third-place showing. The Sun Devils have won an NCAA Regional three times with their last title coming in 1997. Miriam Nagl was the last Sun Devil to win an individual title at an NCAA Regional, earning medalist honors in 2000 when the Sun Devils hosted the NCAA West Regional at Karsten Golf Course in Tempe.

The FieldArizona, winner of this year's Pac-10 Championships, is the No. 1 seed in the West, followed by the second-seeded Sun Devils. The rest of the field is comprised of UCLA, Washington, California, USC, Pepperdine, Stanford, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Idaho, San Francisco, San Jose State, UC Irvine, Denver, BYU, Colorado State, Washington State, Campbell, Oral Roberts and Northern Arizona.

Eight Pac-10 teams qualified for the NCAA West Regional and account for the top six seeds and six of the top eight in that region (No. 1 Arizona, No. 2 ASU, No. 3 UCLA, No. 4 Washington, No. 5 California, No. 6 USC and No. 8 and tournament host Stanford). Washington State is the 18th seed, while a ninth Pac-10 school, Oregon, will also be represented at the West Regional by individual qualifier, Kathy Cho.

Qualifying for the NCAA ChampionshipsThe top eight teams and two individuals from each region will qualify for the NCAA Championships to be held May 21-24 at the Washington National Golf Course in Auburn, Wash. This season marks the second year that the NCAA has gone to a three-regional format. Twenty-one teams and three individuals have qualified for each regional with the NCAA East Regional being held at University Club in Baton Rouge, La. (LSU, host) and the Central Regional being held Forest Akers Golf Course in East Lansing, Mich. (Michigan State University, host).

The LineupArizona State's lineup will include sophomore Jimin Kang, freshman Erin Tone and juniors Blair O'Neal, Ga�lle Truet and Melanie Hunt.

Pac-10 HonorsThree Sun Devils earned All-Pac-10 Conference honors led by sophmore Jimin Kang who was named to the first team, the second all-league honor of her career after earning second-team honors as a true freshman. Juniors Blair O'Neal and Ga�lle Truet were honorable-mention selections. For O'Neal, it was the second time she has been named an honorable-mention selection, the previous coming as a freshman in 2000.

In the RankingsArizona State checked in at 10th in the April 28 Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. Individually, freshman Jimin Kang is the highest ranked Sun Devil at eighth.

Head Coach Mickey YokoiHead coach Mickey Yokoi (pronounced YO-koy) is currently his first season as at the helm of the Sun Devil women's program after spending the last five years as an assistant coach for the men's team. He replaced five-time National Coach of the Year Linda Vollstedt who retired in June after leading the Sun Devils to six NCAA championships in her 21-year career.

During Yokoi's five years as a Sun Devil assistant, ASU won four Pac-10 Conference titles and produced 2000 U.S. Amateur Champion Jeff Quinney and 2001 U.S. Pub Links Champion Chez Reavie. Prior to ASU, Yokoi oversaw all golf operations as head golf professional at the Country Club of the North in Dayton, Ohio, from 1994-95 and assisted the head professional from 1993-94.

Yokoi played collegiate golf at UCLA from 1977-82 before beginning a professional career. At UCLA, he earned All-America and All-Pac-10 honors, playing on the Bruins' 1982 Pac-10 Championship team which included Corey Pavin and Steve Pate. After leaving UCLA, Yokoi went on to play on the Asian Tour, the Canadian and Australian PGA Tours and the PGA Hogan Tour. He has been a member of the PGA since 1994. After ending his professional career, Yokoi went back to UCLA to complete his studies and earned his degree in psychology in 1997.

Last Time OutSophomore Jimin Kang shot a two-under 70 in the final round to win the individual title at the 2002 Pac-10 Championships, held April 22-24 at the par 72, 6,199-yard Walla Walla (Wash.) Country Club. Kang's victory marked Arizona State's ninth Pac-10 individual title and the first since Grace Park in 1999.

Kang finished with a three-day total of even-par 216 (72-74-70), which bested the nation's top-ranked player, Lorena Ochoa, by one stroke and snapped Ochoa's NCAA-record seven tournament winning streak. It also marked the second tournament win of the season for Kang who previously captured medalist honors at the New Mexico State Intercollegiate in October. Kang came into the day trailing by three strokes but birdied two of her last three holes to earn the victory.

ASU finished in a tie with California for third in the tournament with a three-day total of 44-over 908. The Sun Devils shot a 14-over 302 Wednesday to climb one spot in the final round. Arizona won its third straight team title with a three-day total of 891, while UCLA finished second at 899. USC and Washington tied for fifth with three-round totals of 909.

Freshman Erin Tone who turned in her third straight top 15 finish, tying for 12th with a three-day total of 227 (77-73-77). Junior Melanie Hunt finished in a tie for 34th at 236 (84-74-78), while juniors Blair O'Neal (77-80-80) and Ga�lle Truet (79-81-77) each tied for 39th with three-day totals of 237. ASU individual Josefin Gustafsson had her best round of the tournament with a 75 Wednesday to finish in a tie for 46th (81-84-75-240).

Top 10 NotesArizona State has turned in top 10 finishes in all 10 events it has competed in this season. The Sun Devils have earned a total of six top five showings this season, including top five showings in each of its last four events. After leading the nation in team scoring average in the fall at 294.75, the Sun Devils are currently fourth in the country with an average of 298.11 strokes per round this spring.

ASU is still looking for its first outright tournament win of the year after tying for first but falling to Baylor in a tiebreaker at the New Mexico State Intercollegiate in October and finishing second in two of its last four tournaments (Mountain View Collegiate, PING/ASU Invitational).

Jimin Kang (Sophomore * Edmonds, Wash.)Earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors, the second all-league accolade of her young career ... captured the 2002 Pac-10 Conference individual title, becoming ASU's first Pac-10 champion since Grace Park in 1999 ... trailed by three strokes heading to the final round but birdied two of her last three holes and shot a two-under 70 to earn the victory ...bested the nation's top-ranked player, Lorena Ochoa, by one stroke to win the Pac-10 title and snapped Ochoa's NCAA-record seven-tournament winning streak ... is currently ranked eighth in the Golfweek/Sagarin individual rankings and has been ranked as high as fourth this season ...leads the Sun Devils and is third in the country in stroke average (72.00) ... also ranks second in the nation in par 4 and third in par 3 scoring ... won the 2001 New Mexico State Invitational, finishing at 11-under 205 (67-71-67), in the first collegiate victory of her young career ... finished a combined 21-under par in her last two collegiate events of the fall ...has finished second in two other events this year (the 2001 Stanford Intercollegiate and the 2002 PING/ASU Invitational) ...carded a seven-under 65 in the first round of the Stanford Intercollegiate, tying the ASU record for the lowest round in school history ... turned in a 70.38 stroke average this fall ...has had 12 rounds at or below par this year, including six in the 60s.

Erin Tone (Freshman * Gilbert, Ariz.)One of three Arizonans on the Sun Devil squad ... true freshman from Gilbert, Ariz., who cracked the lineup after her first tournament in the fall ... has finished in the top 15 in each of the last three tournaments ... her best finish of the year came at the Pac-10 Championships where she tied for 12th (77-73-77=227) ... tied for 15th and shared the Anne Votik Outstanding Freshman award with UCLA's Yvonne Choe at the PING/ASU Invitational (74-74-74=222) ... has played in eight tournaments this year ... saw action in ASU's last two fall tournaments, turning in a 74.67 stroke average ... cracked the top 20 in her first collegiate event, finishing in a tie for 15th at the New Mexico State Intercollegiate as an individual (74-77-73=224) ... shot an eight-over 224 in Las Cruces with a 74 in the first round and a season-low 73 in the final round ... is ranked 156th individually ... four-time qualifier for the USGA Junior Girls Championships ... was the 1999 and 2000 East Valley Player of the Year.

Blair O'Neal (Junior * Tempe, Ariz.)Earned honorable-mention All-Pac-10 honors this year, the second honorable-mention accolade of her career ... has the third-best stroke average on the team at 76.00 (73.38 in the fall) ... has played in all 10 tournaments this season and turned in three top 10 finishes ... finished in the top 10 in each of her first tournaments this year, tying for ninth at the NCAA Fall Preview (73-73=146) and for sixth at the New Mexico State Intercollegiate (76-73-69=218) ... carded a career-low 69 in the final round of the NMSU Intercollegiate ... best spring finish came at the Mountain View Collegiate with a tie for 10th (73-80=153) ...tied for 39th at the Pac-10 Championships (77-80-80=237) ... was two-over par in each of her first two events of the fall ... is currently ranked 104th in the country and was ranked 37th in the nation in the final fall Golfweek/Sagarin poll ... a local product from Tempe's Corona del Sol High School.

Ga�lle Truet (Junior * New Caledonia)Transferred to Arizona State from Northern Arizona this year ... hails from New Caledonia, which is located in the South Pacific off the coast of Australia ... earned honorable-mention All-Pac-10 honors this year, the first all-conference selection of her career ... is second on the team with a 75.85 stroke average ... has played in all 10 tournaments this year and has cracked the top 10 in two events ... her best finish of the year came at the Mountain View Collegiate where she tied for second, two strokes off the lead (76-70=149) ... carded a career-best 69 in the final round at the Stanford Intercollegiate and tied for 21st (73-79-69=221) ... tied for 39th at the Pac-10 Championships (79-81-77=237) ... ranks 99th in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin poll.

Melanie Hunt (Junior * Phoenix, Ariz.)Has cracked the top 25 in five of her last six tournaments ... her best finish of the year came at the Arizona Invitational where she tied for 14th at six-over par 222 (75-76-74) ... has shot a season-low 73 three times this season ... tied for 34th at the Pac-10 Championships (84-74-78=236) ... is ranked 121st in the nation ... did not see any action in the fall ... transferred to Arizona State in December of 2000 from Texas Tech University ... a local product who attended Horizon High School in Phoenix.

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