Q & A with Melissa Luellen

March 5, 2006

After winning back-to-back tournaments, the Arizona State women's golf team has moved to No. 3 in the national rankings. As the golf team prepared for the Cal Invitational, ASU women's golf coach Melissa Luellen recently took time to answer some questions about the team's recent success and about its trip to Guadalajara, Mexico.

On winning back to back tournaments...'I felt to follow the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge with a top-three finish at the Wildcat Invitational, would be a great finish for us. The girls really impressed me with their tenacity and their ability to continue to want to prove themselves. They are very resilient. They kept battling back. They now have a real belief in themselves now that they can overcome anything.'

On how the Cal Invitational came to be ...'Sophia Sheridan is a senior on the Cal Team and her best friend is Lorena Ochoa who is a very successful young tour star. They grew up together in Guadalajara, Mexico, at Guadalajara Country Club. I've actually played a collegiate tournament way back when at the same venue. It's just a wonderful place. People are great. The course is just so adorable to play. Lorena wanted to give Sophia an opportunity to play in front of her family and Sophia is playing very well. I know she's very jazzed up about it. We have a dinner at Lorena's house planned. We are going to a Children's Hospice to read to the kids. The players on the field will get a huge perspective on how lucky they are. It will be a very valuable trip in many different ways.'

On the team's ability to focus ...'The mark of a great athlete is to compartmentalize and put all your struggles aside when the flag goes up. Focus and concentration are huge aspects of golf because you are out there for so many hours. It is really hard to have that kind of focus for so long. I actually want my players in between shots to sing a song or talk to members of their group because it's impossible to focus for so long. It wears you out mentally. You probably want to play golf for 45 minutes total, not the four or five hours you are out there.'

On the field at the Cal Invitational ...'Duke, Georgia, UCLA and Pepperdine will all be there. There are only 12 teams, but it will be a very strong field. Again we have to step up and prove that we are deserving of the ranking that we received. I still feel like our players like the fact that they got respect, but they still feel like they need to prove it.'

On the team's goals for the tournament ...'It is always a goal to win the tournament. And in golf there are so few times that you actually win. You actually have to set other things that are accomplishments and you can celebrate. And then you take the things that you didn't do so well and work on them and prepare for the tournament. Its just a challenge every day.'