No. 2 Women's Golf Opens NCAA Central Regional With Two-Shot Lead

May 6, 2010

COLUMBUS, Ind. - The No. 2 Arizona State women's golf team finished the first round of the NCAA Central Regional in the lead. Held at the Otter Creek Golf Course in Columbus, Ind., the Sun Devils shot a 9-over 297 to hold a two-stroke lead over USC. The NCAA Central Regional will conclude on Saturday.

'What a course! We feel as though we are playing in an U.S. Open, it is quite a championship course,' said eighth year head coach Melissa Luellen. 'The conditions were perfect and it is a hard course. The hole locations were very difficult and if you were in the wrong place you were toast. There was never a dull moment out there.'

Senior Juliana Murcia paced the Sun Devils as she finished the first round in third. Murcia was one of only three players to conclude the first day under par. The senior All-American knocked in four birdies to card 1-under 71.

'July just showed great senior leadership with her patience and short game,' said Luellen. 'She played great.'

Jaclyn Sweeney and Jennifer Johnson were the second-lowest scoring Sun Devils. Both shot 3-over 75 to enter the second round tied for 15th.

'Jackie really fought back and finished the last six holes 2-under,' said Luellen. 'She was kind of frustrated out there, but she is never going to give up.'

Pac-10 Champion Carlota Ciganda shot 4-over 76 to finish tied for 24th. Giulia Molinaro concluded the first round at 8-over 80.

'Looking at the scores around the regionals, we feel as though this is the most challenging course and it is a great prep for the NCAA Championships, which is also a hard course,' said Luellen. 'We are going to use this to our advantage, it is a great test for NCAAs.'

The Sun Devils need to place in the top eight to advance to their 19th straight NCAA Championship. The NCAA Central Regional will conclude on Saturday.

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