Women's Golf Ready for NCAA West Regional
May 6, 2003
TEMPE, Ariz. -
Coming off a fifth-place showing at the Pac-10 Championships, the Arizona State women's golf team returns to action this week, playing host to the 2003 NCAA West Regional Championships. The NCAA West Regional, which is free to the public, will be held Thursday-Saturday, May 8-10 at par 72, 6,256-yard Karsten Golf Course in Tempe. Open since 1989, Karsten Golf Course has played host to a number of national tournaments, including the 2000 NCAA Women's West Regional, the 1998 NCAA Men's West Regional and the 1992 NCAA Women's Championships. The 27th-ranked and sixth-seeded Sun Devils will be looking to finish in the top five for the ninth time in 11 years of NCAA regional action. This year marks Arizona State's 11th consecutive invitation in 11 years of NCAA regional action, while the Sun Devils have won the NCAA West Regional three times, most recently in 1997.
This year's NCAA West Regional features 15 teams ranked in the top 50 in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin rankings including three of the top five teams in the nation and nine of the top 30.
About the NCAA West RegionalThe participants will play 18 holes each day Thursday through Saturday, May 8-10 beginning at 7:30 a.m. Pacific from tees No. 1 and No. 10. The final group tees off at 1:20 p.m. each day. 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 each round.
Last year, Pepperdine and UCLA tied for first with three-round totals of 19-over 883 at the NCAA West Regional which was held May 9-11 at the Stanford Golf Course in Palo Alto, Calif. California (889), Arizona (890) and Stanford (901) rounded out the top five. Arizona's Lorena Ochoa captured individual medalist honors with a six-under total of 210.
ASU's Karsten Golf Course last played host to the NCAA West Regional in 2000. That year, eventual national champion Arizona won the NCAA West Regional with a three-round total of 876, besting runner-up San Jose State (881) by five strokes. Arizona State's Miriam Nagl captured individual medalist honors in 2000 with a three-day total of seven-under 209.
The FieldTwenty-one teams and three individuals from all over the country have qualified for the 2003 NCAA West Regional including (in order of seeding) Pepperdine, USC, Oklahoma State, UCLA, Ohio State, Arizona State, Stanford, New Mexico State, Washington, UNLV, San Francisco, San Jose State, Oregon State, Denver, Nevada, Illinois, Washington State, Oral Roberts, Cal State Northridge, Portland State and Bradley. Individual qualifiers are Nicole Keller of Idaho, Stella Lee of UC Irvine and Erin Kerr of Colorado.
Fifteen of the teams are ranked in the national top 50 in the April 28 Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index including No. 2 Pepperdine, No. 3 Oklahoma State, No. 5 USC, No. 13 UCLA, No. 16 Ohio State, No. 20 Washington, No. 25 New Mexico State, No. 27 Arizona State and No. 28 Stanford).
Qualifying for the NCAA ChampionshipsThe top eight teams and two individuals from each of three regionals will qualify for the NCAA Championships to be held May 20-23 on the Kampen Course of the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex in West Lafayette, Ind. This season marks the third year that the NCAA has used a three-regional format. Twenty-one teams and three individuals have qualified for each regional with the NCAA East Regional being held at the Salem Glen Country Club in Winston-Salem, N.C. (Wake Forest University, host) and the Central Regional being held at the Firethorn Golf Club in Lincoln, Neb. (University of Nebraska, host).
The Sun Devils are looking to qualify for their 12th straight NCAA Championships appearance. ASU currently holds the third-longest active postseason 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 16 times in the team's 21 NCAA Championship appearances, including a ninth-place finish last season.
Sun Devil LineupArizona State's lineup for the 2003 NCAA West Regional will feature senior Blair O'Neal (Tempe, Ariz.), freshman Alissa Kuczka (Phoenix, Ariz.), senior Melanie Hunt (Phoenix, Ariz.), senior Gaï¿½lle Truet (New Caledonia) and sophomore Erin Tone (Gilbert, Ariz.).
2002-03 ASU Stroke AveragesName App Top 10 Rounds Strokes Avg. LowBlair O'Neal 9 3 26 1980 76.15 69Alissa Kuczka 9 2 26 1989 76.51 72Melanie Hunt 4 0 12 945 78.75 75Gaï¿½lle Truet 7 1 21 1641 78.14 70Erin Tone 8 2 23 1810 78.69 68
Pac-10 HonorsSenior Blair O'Neal has earned honorable-mention All-Pac-10 Conference honors after finishing fourth at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships. For O'Neal, it was the third time she has been named an honorable-mention selection (2000, '02 and '03).
Strong SpringArizona State has finished in the top five in four of its last six events, including a third-place showing at the Arizona Wildcat Invitational in February and a fourth-place effort at the San Jose State Spartan Invitational in March. Most recently, the Sun Devils turned in their fourth top 5 finish of the year, taking fifth at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships. This spring, the Sun Devils have carded nine of their top 13 rounds of the year including a season-low four-under 284 in the first round of the Spartan Invitational. In the team's last four events, ASU has averaged 300.67 strokes per round, down from its season average of 306.76.
Head Coach Melissa LuellenMelissa McNamara Luellen is in her first year as the head coach of the Arizona State women's golf team. Luellen came to ASU after two seasons as the head coach at her alma mater, the University of Tulsa. A former All-American for the Golden Hurricane, she succeeded her mother, Dale McNamara, who retired in 2000 following a 26-year career that saw her Tulsa teams win four national championships. In her two seasons as Tulsa's head coach, Luellen led her team to seven tournament titles including back-to-back Western Athletic Conference and NCAA Central Regional championships. She also earned WAC Coach of the Year honors in each of her two seasons and was the 2002 Central Regional Coach of the Year.