No. 1 Women's Golf Heads to Bruin/Wave Invitational

Feb. 28, 2010

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This Week --
Coming off their third tournament win of the season, the top-ranked Arizona State University women's golf team heads west to compete in the Bruin/Wave Invitational. Held at the par 72, 6,282-yard Robinson Ranch Golf Club in Santa Clarita, Calif., the Sun Devils will be paired with San Francisco and Long Beach in the inaugural tournament, which begins March 1 and concludes March 3.

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

About the Wildcat Invitational --
This the first year of the Bruin/Wave Invitational which features several of the nation's top-teams in the predominately West Coast dominated field. Along host schools UCLA and Pepperdine, ASU will compete against Arizona, BYU, CSU-Northridge, Long Beach State, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Oregon State, Oregon, San Diego State, San Francisco, USC, Stanford, UNLV, Washington and Washington State.

Three Trophies So Far --
The top-ranked ASU women's team have already placed three new trophies in their case this season. The team went down to Tucson for the Wildcat Invitational and took their third Wildcat Invitational win. With four players finishing in the top 10, the Sun Devils won by a 12-stroke margin. In the fall season, the Sun Devils finished on top at the Stanford Intercollegiate. This was the third straight time ASU has won on the Stanford Golf Course, as they won the 2007 Stanford Intercollegiate and also won last season's Pac-10 title on Stanford's home 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. Murcia, a senior majoring in sculpture, carded her second runner-up finish of the season at the Wildcat Invitational, where she also recorded an eagle. 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 four top 10 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. Recently, she tied for seventh at the Wildcat Invitational.

Jackie Medals in Japan --
Junior Sweeney took on the TOPY Cup field, shooting a 5-under 211 (70-72-69) to claim her first medalist honor as a Sun Devil. Winning by one-stroke over teammate Murcia, Sweeney now has two collegiate tournament victories on her resume as she won the Big 12 Championship as a freshman at Oklahoma State. She has also tied for sixth at the Stanford Intercollegiate and tied for 10th at the Wildcat Invitational.

Johnson'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.

Former Sun Devils in the News --
Azahara Munoz was named to Golf World's Ryan Harrington's All-Decade Team... Munoz earned her tour card after placing fifth at Qualifying School... Anna Nordqvist was named Rookie of the Year by the Ladies European Tour.

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 -
After ASU's 12-stroke win at the Wildcat Invitational, Melissa Luellen has now coached her Sun Devil teams to 20 tournament victories. 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 will take a mini-break and will not compete again until April, when they host the PING/ASU Invitational.

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