Northrop Grumman Championship: Arizona State wins big

PALOS VERDES, Calif. (Feb. 11, 2009) -- The Arizona State women's golf team brought home their third first place trophy of the season as the team shot a 46-over 898 (305-294-299) to win at the Northrop Grumman Regional Championship. Junior Juliana Murcia took the individual title, the first of her career, to lead the Sun Devils over the tough field at the Palos Verdes Golf Course. The Sun Devils outplayed their opponents and finished with an 18-stroke lead over second place Wake Forest.

"The win was very exciting; it was a great way to start the semester," said seventh year head coach Melissa Luellen. "It's pretty amazing that we were able to come out on top and win by such a large margin without Aza (Munoz) and Anna (Nordqvist). It just shows that we've got some new depth and we're a new team."

With the tournament win, Murcia, who entered the tournament as the No. 4 player, earned her first individual championship. She carded a 1-over 214 (70-71-73) to finish eight shots ahead of second place. The junior's previous top finish was fourth at the 2007 Pac-10 Championships. Head coach Melissa Luellen credits Murcia's patience and endurance as the key to her win.

"July was just amazing," said Luellen. "She just played so well and her short game was just beautiful. To win by eight was impressive. It was truly based on that first day when she endured the conditions. She just stayed tough as nails that entire tournament."

Freshman Carlota Ciganda placed second in her first Sun Devil debut. The two-time European Amateur Champion finished the tournament at 9-over 222 (76-72-74) to tie for second with USC's Jennifer Song.

"Carlota placing second in her first collegiate tournament was exciting," said Luellen. "She struggled with the greens but other than she played pretty well. She has a big smile on her face."

Jaclyn Sweeney fought back to shoot 1-over 72 in the final round. The sophomore transfer tied for 16th at 19-over 232 (79-81-72). Giulia Molinaro tied for 34th in her first collegiate outing after carding a 23-over 236 (81-74-81). Jennifer Osborn finished tied for 41st after shooting 24-over 237 (80-77-80).

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