Women's Golf Heads Down I-10 for Wildcat Invitational

Feb. 21, 2010

This Week --
The Arizona State women's golf team heads down the I-10 to compete in the Wildcat Invitational hosted by the University of Arizona. Held at par 71, 6,146-yard Arizona National Golf Club, the first and second rounds of the tournament will be competed on Monday followed by a shotgun start on Tuesday. The team is coming off a fourth place finish at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge. The Sun Devils have found success at the Wildcat Invitational, winning in 2006 and 2007. Last season, the team placed second in the tournament, which was held in Puerta Penasco, Mexico.

1. Juliana Murcia
2. Giulia Molinaro
3. Jaclyn Sweeney
4. Jennifer Johnson
5. Carlota Ciganda
I. Larissa Eruera

About the Wildcat Invitational --
The Wildcat Invitational features many of the top teams in the country including Arizona, Arizona State, Auburn, California, Denver, Duke, New Mexico, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pepperdine, Stanford, Tennessee, Tulane, UNLV, USC and Washington.

Twice as Nice --
The top-ranked ASU women's team already have two tournament wins under their belt. Last week, the Sun Devils finished on top at the Stanford Intercollegiate. This is the third straight time ASU has won on the Stanford Golf Course. Despite the stacked field, the Sun Devils came away with a four-stroke win as four of their players placed in the top 10. Previously, the Sun Devils took first at the TOPY Cup with a 26-stroke lead over second-place Wake Forest. Three ASU golfers went 1-2-3 as Jaclyn Sweeney claimed medalist honors with Juliana Murcia finishing runner-up and Carlota Ciganda tying for 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.

Krafty Freshman --
For the second year in a row, Jennifer Johnson has earned an amateur exemption for the Kraft Nabisco Championship. A native of nearby La Quinta, Calif., Johnson was one of five amateurs invited to play in the LPGA major. Last season, ASU's newest member of the LPGA Azahara Munoz, also accepted an invitation to play at the tour's first major of the season. In 2004, former Sun Devil star Grace Park won the major.

Senior Star --
Senior Juliana Murcia has had a strong start to her final season as a Sun Devil. The returning second-team All-American has finished in the top-20 in each tournament this season. After starting the 2009-10 campaign with a runner-up placing at the TOPY Cup, Murcia tied for 15th at the Mason Rudolph Championship. She followed that performance up with a third-place finish at the Stanford Intercollegiate and most recently tied for seventh at the Northrop Grumman. Over winter break, she tied for first at the Copa de las Americas in Argentina. A two-time NGCA All-American Scholar, Murcia is set to graduate in May.

Be Italia --
Giulia Molinaro has solidified herself on the Sun Devils' lineup this season. The Italian sophomore had a strong tournament in Palos Verdes, finishing tied for 17th. She has also recorded a top-10 placing at the TOPY Cup earlier this season.

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.

What Sophomore Slump? --
Returning All-American Carlota Ciganda has picked up right where she left off. The sophomore has already notched two top five finishes this season. Ciganda turned in a runner-up performance at the Stanford Intercollegiate. Additionally, she finished tied for third at the TOPY Cup and was the Sun Devil's highest finisher at the Landfall Tradition/NCAA Fall Preview.

Super Coaches --
Head coach Melissa Luellen and associate head coach Missy Farr-Kaye garnered several awards after last season's success. Luellen was named Sky-Caddie NGCA Coach of the Year, Pac-10 Coach of the Year and West Region Coach of the Year. Farr-Kaye's determination and courage shown last season through dealing with recoverying from a recurrence of breast cancer while coaching was awarded as she was named the recipient of the Kim Moore Spirit Award and was also a co-winner of the Golden Heart Award at the ASU Sparky Awards.

New Luellen Notes -
It is believed she and her mother Dale McNamara (the legendary Tulsa women's golf coach who led the Golden Hurricane to four national titles) became the first mother-daughter duo to win NCAA Championships at different schools. It was also recently determined that she is the first women's golf individual NCAA Champion to coach her team an NCAA Championship.

Next Up --
The Sun Devils head out west for the Bruin Wave Invitational.

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