UCLA Battles Top Teams at ASU/PING Invitational

April 2, 2009

The No.1 ranked UCLA women's golf team heads to Tempe, Ariz. this weekend for a showdown with the nation's top teams at the ASU/PING Invitational on the Karsten Course.

Fifteen teams in the 17-team field are ranked among the nation's Top 40, including four of the nation's Top 5 teams. The field also features seven of the nation's Top 10 individuals.

UCLA leads the nation with six tournament victories in seven starts. They are 3-1 in team competition against Arizona State, which is ranked No.1 by GolfWeek, and 5-0 against USC, ranked third in all of the major polls. The Bruins are ranked No.1 in the NGCA Coaches poll and by GolfStat.

For the second straight start, the Bruins will be without senior captain Tiffany Joh. This week, Joh is playing as an amateur in the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Palm Springs.

At their last event, minus Joh, the Bruins won by seven strokes at the UCF Challenge at RedTail Golf Club in Kissimmee, Fla. UCLA freshman Stephanie Kono won her second collegiate title, firing a final round 66 (-6) to win by a stroke. For her efforts, Kono was selected GolfWorld's National Player of the Week (Mar. 9-16).

Kono enters this event ranked third nationally, the highest ranked freshman in the country. In seven starts, she leads the team with a scoring average of 71.4 and has played 20 rounds this season in five-under par. In half of those rounds, she has eclipsed par.

'She's in a really good place right now with her game,' Head Coach Carrie Forsyth said, referring to Kono in Thursday's Daily Bruin. 'She doesn't have any real weaknesses.'

Replacing Joh in the lineup will be senior Ryann O'Toole, who recorded three consecutive Top 5 finishes during the fall schedule. An illness prior to the UCF Challenge limited her effectiveness. However, in 2007, she tied for sixth at this event, firing a second round 67 (-5).

Junior Sydnee Michaels and sophomores Maria Jose Uribe and Glory Yang complete UCLA's fivesome, and freshman Brianna Do will play as an individual.

In the fall, Michaels won the Mason Rudolph Championship with an 11-under par score of 205, firing a final round score of 67 (-5) to win by four shots. She owns three Top 10 results this season in six starts.

Yang has been quietly piecing together an All-America season. She boasts a victory at the Topy Cup, four Top 10 finishes in six starts and a sparkling 72.4 scoring average. Ten of her 18 rounds have been under par.

Uribe also has played well. She has placed in the Top 25 in each of her seven starts with a tie for 10th in Florida last month.

The Karsten Course will play to a par of 72 over 6,230 yards. It will also be the site of the 2009 NCAA West Regional, May 7-9.

For tee times, click here.

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