No. 1 Women's Golf Opens Season in Far East

Sept. 5, 2009

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This Week --
The No. 1 Arizona State women's golf team will begin their quest to defend thier NCAA title as they open the 2009-2010 season at the TOPY Cup in Tanagura, Japan. The Sun Devils and Wake Forest will be the two teams from the United States. Four teams from Japan will also compete in the annual event which takes place at the Tanagura Country Club, September 8-10.

1. Carlota Ciganda
2. Juliana Murcia
3. Jaclyn Sweeney
4. Giulia Molinaro
5. Liisa Kelo

Other TOPY Cup Experiences --
ASU been victorious in the TOPY Cup three times, in 1987, 1993, 1998. Three Sun Devil greats have earned medalist honors at the international collegiate event. Grace Park claimed the top spot in 1998, Wendy Ward took first in 1993 and Amy Fruhwirth won the event in 1987. The Sun Devils last competed in the TOPY Cup in 2005 where they placed third.

Defending NCAA Champions --
The Sun Devils claimed their first NCAA Championship since 1998, and seventh overall, last season at the Caves Valley Golf Course in Owings Mills, Md. The Sun Devils came back from an 11 stroke deficit after the second round to win by eight shots. ASU also won NCAA team titles in 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997 and 1998.

Returning All-Americans --
The Sun Devils return three All-Americans to their 2009-10 squad. Carlota Ciganda's outstanding freshman season was recognized as she received First-Team All-American honors. Senior Juliana Murcia took home Second-Team honors at the end of last season. Jaclyn Sweeney had earned All-American honors in 2008 from Golfweek while playing for Oklahoma State.

Preseason No. 1 --
After claiming their seventh NCAA title and first in 11 years, the Arizona State women's golf team will enter the 2009-10 season as the number one team in the Golf World/ NGCA Division I Preseason Coaches' Poll. The team received 34 of 41 first place votes. This is the first time the Sun Devils have been voted into the top spot since Melissa Luellen took over as head coach just prior to the 2002-03 season. Fellow Pac-10 teams ranked in the top 5 include No. 2 Southern California and No.3 UCLA.

Four Players to Watch (According to Golf World) --
Four Sun Devils ranked in the 'Top 50 Female Players to Watch.' Reigning Pac-10 Champion sophomore Carlota Ciganda is the preseason No. 2 golfer after finishing the previous season with first-team All-American honors. Following an exciting summer capped by a runner-up finish at the U.S. Amateur and spot on the victorious U.S. Solheim Team, Jennifer Johnson enters the season as the No. 7 golfer in her first season playing at the collegiate level. Senior Juliana Murcia (second-team All-American) and junior Jaclyn Sweeney are ranked in the top 50.

A Team of Youngins --
Despite the team's preseason No. 1 ranking and returning three starters from last season, the Sun Devils 2009-10 squad will be full of youth and inexperience as a Sun Devil. Only seniors Murcia and Liisa Kelo will have been at ASU for more than a semester. Junior Sweeney transferred in last January after competing for Oklahoma State the year and a half prior while now-sophomores Ciganda and Giulia Molinaro came to school in January as well. The Sun Devils will also boast five freshmen on their 10-woman squad.

Checking in with Carlota --
Reigning Pac-10 Champion Ciganda had quite a busy summer. The sophomore from Pamplona, Spain broke her country's low round record, shooting a carded a stunning 8-under 64 in the first round of the Spanish Individual National Championship early in the summer. She followed that up with a runner-up finish at the Ladies British Amateur, finishing second to former Sun Devil standout and compatriot Azahara Munoz. Ciganda also competed in the British Women's Open.

Sweeney's Summer --
Junior Sweeney stayed busy this summer competing at several amateur events. The Andover, Mass., native was a semi-finalist in the prestigious North & South Championship. She also placed fifth at the Canadian Women's Amateur and competed in the U.S. Women's Amateur.

Johnsonn's Summer Journey --
Freshman Jennifer Johnson had quite the summer. The La Quinta, Calif., native travelled the country with her father, competing in several events. Johnson was a finalist at the U.S. Women's Amateur, finishing runner-up to USC's Jennifer Song. Johnson was also a member of the victorious Junior Solheim Team and a quarter-finalist at the U.S. Girls' Junior Champion.

Next Up --
The Sun Devils will head to Tennessee to compete in the Mason Rudolph Invitational at the Vanderbilt Legend Club. ASU will look to improve on their fifth place finish the previous season.

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