Women's Golf to End Season at NCAA Championships May 21-24

May 14, 2002

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Winners of six national crowns in the 1990s, the ninth-ranked Arizona State women's golf team heads to Auburn, Wash., for the 2002 NCAA Championships May 21-24 looking to capture its first NCAA title since 1998. The University of Washington plays host to the 2002 NCAA Championships at the par 72, 6,273-yard Washington National Golf Club.

A total of 24 teams will compete in this year's tournament including eight teams and two individuals from each of three regionals held May 9-11. Qualifiers from the NCAA West Regional, hosted by Stanford, are Arizona, Arizona State, California, Pepperdine, USC, Stanford, UCLA and tournament host Washington. Representing the East are Auburn, Duke, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, South Florida, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest, while Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Texas and Tulsa advanced from the Central Regional.

About the NCAA ChampionshipsEighteen holes will be played Tuesday-Friday, May 21-24 beginning at 8 a.m. Pacific time from tees No. 1 and No. 10 each day. First- and second-round pairings are predetermined based on seeding, while tee times for the final two rounds will be based on results. The top four scores from each five-person team will count toward the team score. As the No. 6 team from the West, Arizona State will be paired with South Carolina and Michigan in the first and second rounds and will tee off No. 1 at 9 a.m. PDT on Tuesday and off No. 10 at 1 p.m. PDT on Wednesday.

First-Year SuccessArizona State head coach Mickey Yokoi is the only women's golf coach in the country this season to lead his or her team to the NCAA Championships in the coach's first year at the helm. A total of six first-year women's golf coaches guided their squads to 2002 NCAA Regional action, including Yokoi, UC Irvine's Kelly Crawford, Northern Arizona's Tom McCurdy, Yale's Mary Moan, BYU's Sue Nyhus and Memphis' Katie Gallina-Rump, but Yokoi is the only one whose team advanced on to the NCAA Championships.

The LineupArizona State's lineup will include sophomore Jimin Kang, freshman Erin Tone and juniors Blair O'Neal, Ga�lle Truet and Melanie Hunt. This year will mark the third NCAA Championships appearance for O'Neal and the second for Kang and Hunt, while Tone and Truet will be participating in their first NCAA Championships.

11 in a RowThis year will mark the 11th straight NCAA Championship appearance for the Sun Devils, which is the third-longest active streak in the country. Only Arizona (16 consecutive bids) and Stanford (13) have made more consecutive NCAA Championship appearances. Arizona State has finished in the top 15 nationally a total of 15 times in their previous 20 appearances.

How They Got HereThe Sun Devils earned their 11th straight trip to the NCAA Championships and 21st overall with a tie for sixth place at the 2002 NCAA West Regional, held May 9-11 at the par 72, 6,199-yard Stanford Golf Course.

The Sun Devils carded a four-over par 292 Saturday afternoon, their fifth-best round of the season, to tie for sixth with Washington with a three-round total of 904. UCLA and Pepperdine tied for first at the NCAA West Regional with three-round totals of 883. Sophomore Jimin Kang led the Sun Devils individually, finishing in fourth place at even-par 216 (73-71-72). It marked the fifth top-five finish of the year and the third straight for Kang who won the 2002 Pac-10 Championship in her previous tournament action.

The four other Sun Devil players each turned in their best rounds of the tournament on Saturday to help ASU qualify for the NCAA Championships. Junior Blair O'Neal shot a two-over 74 Saturday to tie for 29th place at 227 (78-75-74), while fellow junior Ga�lle Truet tied for 37th at 229 (76-78-75). Freshman Erin Tone (81-80-73=234) and junior Melanie Hunt (83-83-73=239) each tied their season-low rounds with one-over 73s on Saturday to tie for 50th and 71st, respectively.

NCAA HistoryThe Sun Devils have six NCAA team titles to their credit, all won in the 1990s with the most recent coming in 1998. ASU became the first women's golf team in NCAA history to 'three-peat,' sweeping the NCAA crowns from 1993-95. The Sun Devils are making their 10th straight NCAA Championships appearance and their 19th in the last 20 years. In those appearances, ASU has captured 15 Top 10 NCAA finishes, including 11 in the last 13 years.

Individually, eight Sun Devils have won NCAA medalist honors, most recently All-American Grace Park in 1999, while five others have been the national runnerup.

Washington ConnectionArizona State sophomore Jimin Kang should have a large gallery following her during the NCAA Championships since the 2002 Pac-10 Champion will be playing in front of a home crowd. Kang was born in South Korea but came to the United States with her family when she was 13. She graduated from King's High School in Edmonds, Wash., in 2000, capturing two North Cascades Conference championships during her prep career. She won the 1999 Washington Women's Amateur and was the 1999 Pacific Northwest Golf Association Player of the Year. The runner-up at the 1999 U.S. Women's Amateur who earned exemptions to play in two LPGA events, Kang advanced to the third round of U.S. Women's Amateur last summer and won the 2001 Pacific Northwest Women's Amateur Championship in Olympia in July.

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 ninth in the May 12 Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. Individually, freshman Jimin Kang is the highest ranked Sun Devil at fourth, while juniors Blair O'Neal and Ga�lle Truet are 95th and 98th, respectively.

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.

Top 10 NotesArizona State has turned in top 10 finishes in all 11 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 four 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 298.43 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 five tournaments (Mountain View Collegiate, PING/ASU Invitational).

Jimin Kang (Sophomore * Edmonds, Wash.)Finished fourth at the NCAA West Regional at even-par 216, six strokes off the lead ... has finished at even par in each of her last two tournaments ... 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 fourth in the Golfweek/Sagarin individual rankings, which matches her final ranking of the fall ...has finished in the top five in each of her last three events and a total of five times this year ... 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 14 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 three of the last four 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) ... tied for 50th at the NCAA West Regional, tying her season-best with a 73 in the final round (81-80-73=234) ... has played in nine 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 166th 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 75.97 (73.38 in the fall) ... has played in all 11 tournaments this season and turned in three top 10 finishes ... tied for 29th at the NCAA West Regional (78-75-74=227) ... 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 95th 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 75.90 stroke average ... has played in all 11 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) ... finished in a tie for 37th at the NCAA West Regional (76-78-75=229) ... ranks 98th in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin poll.

Melanie Hunt (Junior * Phoenix, Ariz.)Has cracked the top 25 in five of her last seven 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 four times this season, most recently in the final round of the NCAA West Regional ... tied for 34th at the Pac-10 Championships (84-74-78=236) ... finished in a tie for 41st at the NCAA West Regional, tying her season-low round with a 73 on the final day (83-83-73=239) ...is ranked 147th 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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