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Devils deliver: ASU wins NCAA Women's

by Dan Mirocha, Assistant Editor

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With tears in her eyes as she watched her players cradle the national championship trophy, Arizona State head coach Melissa Luellen took a deep breath and summed up a season she’ll never forget.

“What a hell of a year,” she said. “We did it.”

The top-ranked Sun Devils capped a perfect postseason with a victory Friday at the NCAA Division I Women’s Championship. With a second consecutive 3-over 291, Arizona State pulled away from Pac-10 rivals UCLA and USC on the back nine at Caves Valley to earn the program’s seventh national title and first since 1998.

Senior Azahara Munoz, who won last year’s NCAA individual title, shot 72 in the final round to tie for fourth as the Sun Devils finished eight shots ahead of the second-ranked Bruins and nine in front of the third-ranked Trojans. Freshman Carlota Ciganda (72) and sophomore Jaclyn Sweeney (75) tied for 11th.

“We peaked at the right time,” said senior Jennifer Osborn, who shot 75 and tied for 21st. “And then we totally dominated.”

The run to the national championship started early for the Sun Devils with a victory at the Fall Preview in September and at the Derby Invitational a month later. But before Christmas, senior standout Anna Nordqvist informed the team she would be turning pro.

Her absence turned out to be a non-factor. Luellen brought in sophomore Jaclyn Sweeney, a transfer from Oklahoma State, and Spanish star Carlota Ciganda, who won the 2007 British Amateur and 2008 European Championship.

The new-look Sun Devils gelled quickly, winning the spring’s opening event, then capturing the Pac-10 Championship and West Regional by a combined 28 shots. Ciganda, a freshman, won both titles.

It wasn’t that easy for the Sun Devils early at Caves Valley. ASU was eight back of first-round leader Denver. By the end of Round 2, the margin had grown to 11. Luellen said her team was playing tentative. UCLA had zipped ahead and USC was coming on strong.

“I was on the brink of tears after the second round,” Sweeney said. “I was stressing out majorly. But I knew we had a great team and something was going to click.”

Spurred by Sweeney’s third-round 69 and a 72 from Munoz, the Sun Devils vaulted into second place, two shots behind USC and two shots ahead of UCLA, setting up a final-round duel between the top three teams in the country.

The heavyweights traded punches on the front nine and it looked like the national championship would be decided late. But the Sun Devils pulled away.

Ciganda and junior Juliana Murcia played their final nine holes in 1 under, while UCLA’s top gun, sophomore Maria Jose Uribe, bogeyed three of her last eight holes to close with 77. USC sophomore Lizette Salas (75) didn’t make a final-round birdie and junior Belen Mozo (76) had five bogeys before making her first birdie at No. 17.

Trojan freshman Jennifer Song held the individual lead throughout the final round, and needed par at No. 18 to seal the victory. But she hit her approach short into a greenside bunker, then three-putted for double bogey, handing the individual title to Purdue senior Maria Hernandez.

“It’s really nice to smile at the end, but I couldn’t finish that way,” said Song, who shot 74. “Maybe if I stayed in the present more, I think I would have done much better. At the end, I was totally out of it.”

With her victory at the NCAA Championship, Hernandez may have sealed her national player of the year title. She won six times this season including her second Big Ten Championship title. In the final round at Caves Valley, she birdied two of her last three holes to shoot 71 and finish at 1-over 289.

“I don’t think I believe it right now,” Hernandez said. “I knew today that I had to go all out.”

The Sun Devils went all out, too, in their celebration. It was tough to tell if the tears outnumbered the hugs.

“This team has a determination,” Luellen said. “They’ve embraced every challenge.”

Final scores with relation to par from the NCAA Division I Women’s Championship, played May 19-22 at the par-72, 6,443-yard Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md. (Note: y-played as individual):

TEAMS

1. Arizona St. 302-298-291-291--1182 + 30
2. UCLA 296-293-304-297--1190 + 38
3. USC 301-295-294-301--1191 + 39
4. Oklahoma St. 303-297-309-290--1199 + 47
5. Denver 294-304-309-299--1206 + 54
6. Duke 308-301-302-296--1207 + 55
7. North Carolina 299-301-306-304--1210 + 58
8. Virginia 305-302-301-304--1212 + 60
9. Pepperdine 312-298-302-301--1213 + 61
10. Purdue 306-301-311-298--1216 + 64
11. Alabama 305-302-311-299--1217 + 65
12. LSU 302-304-309-304--1219 + 67
13. Michigan St. 307-303-315-300--1225 + 73
13. Wake Forest 303-300-318-304--1225 + 73
15. Georgia 316-307-301-310--1234 + 82
16. Arizona 310-305-314-306--1235 + 83
17. Tennessee 307-313-306-311--1237 + 85
18. TCU 314-316-301-307--1238 + 86
19. New Mexico 311-314-307-310--1242 + 90
20. Tulane 312-305-317-312--1246 + 94
21. Chattanooga 316-307-305-320--1248 + 96
22. UC Irvine 320-316-312-301--1249 + 97
23. Texas 314-311-313-314--1252 + 100
24. Ohio St. 323-311-314-310--1258 + 106

INDIVIDUALS

1. Maria Hernandez, Purdue 74-72-72-71--289 + 1
2. Jennifer Song, USC 72-73-71-74--290 + 2
3. Pernilla Lindberg, Oklahoma St. 74-72-76-69--291 + 3
4. Amanda Blumenherst, Duke 75-73-74-71--293 + 5
4. Azahara Munoz, Arizona St. 78-71-72-72--293 + 5
6. Nannette Hill, Wake Forest 72-71-79-72--294 + 6
6. Calle Nielson, Virginia 75-76-71-72--294 + 6
8. y-Alice Kim, UC Davis 74-75-70-76--295 + 7
8. Maria Jose Uribe, UCLA 75-66-77-77--295 + 7
10. Lisa McCloskey, Pepperdine 74-69-78-75--296 + 8
11. Carlota Ciganda, Arizona St. 74-76-75-72--297 + 9
11. y-Stephanie Connelly, UCF 72-74-75-76--297 + 9
11. y-Cindy LaCrosse, Louisville 76-76-75-70--297 + 9
11. Stephanie Sherlock, Denver 70-73-79-75--297 + 9
11. Jaclyn Sweeney, Arizona St. 76-77-69-75--297 + 9
16. Ginny Brown, Tennessee 72-75-77-74--298 + 10
16. Jane Chin, UC Irvine 75-75-75-73--298 + 10
16. Stephanie Kono, UCLA 73-76-74-75--298 + 10
16. Lizette Salas, USC 74-74-75-75--298 + 10
16. Allie White, UNC 78-76-73-71--298 + 10
21. Sydney Crane, UNC 75-72-75-77--299 + 11
21. Belen Mozo, USC 78-72-73-76--299 + 11
21. Jennifer Osborn, Arizona St. 75-74-75-75--299 + 11
21. Dawn Shockley, Denver 77-70-77-75--299 + 11
25. Kathleen Ekey, Alabama 75-78-72-75--300 + 12
25. Tiffany Joh, UCLA 74-76-76-74--300 + 12
25. Jennie Lee, Duke 78-75-75-72--300 + 12
25. Caroline Martens, LSU 78-74-74-74--300 + 12
25. Marta Silva, Georgia 75-72-76-77--300 + 12
30. Caroline Masson, Oklahoma St. 77-73-78-73--301 + 13
30. Rachel Raastad, TCU 77-74-72-78--301 + 13
32. Britney Choy, New Mexico 73-79-72-78--302 + 14
32. Megan McChrystal, LSU 74-77-77-74--302 + 14
32. Juliana Murcia, Arizona St. 77-77-76-72--302 + 14
32. Brooke Pancake, Alabama 75-78-81-68--302 + 14
32. Glory Yang, UCLA 74-78-77-73--302 + 14
37. y-Marina Alex, Vanderbilt 79-81-74-69--303 + 15
37. Caroline Hedwall, Oklahoma St. 76-78-76-73--303 + 15
39. Emma de Groot, Chattanooga 79-73-76-76--304 + 16
39. Jodi Ewart, New Mexico 78-73-78-75--304 + 16
39. Janine Fellows, Tulane 76-75-77-76--304 + 16
39. Katie Kempter, Denver 74-81-75-74--304 + 16
39. Camilla Lennarth, Alabama 78-72-78-76--304 + 16
39. Sydnee Michaels, UCLA 75-75-79-75--304 + 16
39. Lindsey Solberg, Michigan St. 73-79-76-76--304 + 16
39. Jessica Wallace, Pepperdine 79-77-76-72--304 + 16
39. Alison Whitaker, Duke 76-75-78-75--304 + 16
48. Mallory Hetzel, Georgia 77-76-80-72--305 + 17
48. Lene Krog, Virginia 78-74-73-80--305 + 17
48. Laura Kueny, Michigan St. 74-76-80-75--305 + 17
48. Nathalie Mansson, Tennessee 81-77-71-76--305 + 17
52. y-Kendall Dye, Oklahoma 82-73-76-75--306 + 18
52. Catherine O'Donnell, UNC 70-77-82-77--306 + 18
54. Junthima Gulyanamitta, Purdue 80-76-78-73--307 + 19
54. Whitney Neuhauser, Virginia 75-76-81-75--307 + 19
54. Amanda Wilson, Arizona 76-77-78-76--307 + 19
57. Jayvie Agojo, Pepperdine 80-78-72-78--308 + 20
57. Emma Jandel, Ohio St. 75-78-82-73--308 + 20
57. Taylore Karle, Pepperdine 79-74-79-76--308 + 20
57. Caroline Kim, USC 77-76-79-76--308 + 20
57. Karin Kinnerud, Oklahoma St. 78-74-81-75--308 + 20
57. Vicky Villanueva, Ohio St. 78-75-73-82--308 + 20
63. Isabelle Boineau, Arizona 77-78-78-76--309 + 21
63. Ellie Givens, Denver 73-80-80-76--309 + 21
63. Thea Hoffmeister, Purdue 76-76-78-79--309 + 21
66. Valentine Derrey, TCU 78-83-76-73--310 + 22
66. Kimberly Donovan, Duke 79-78-75-78--310 + 22
66. Kelley Louth, Texas 81-77-74-78--310 + 22
66. Maria Salinas, Chattanooga 75-77-75-83--310 + 22
70. Michelle Bowles, Michigan St. 80-75-81-75--311 + 23
70. Patty Chawalitmetha, UC Irvine 78-80-76-77--311 + 23
70. Kristen Simpson, Virginia 77-76-78-80--311 + 23
70. Nicole Vandermade, Texas 80-76-79-76--311 + 23
70. Cheyenne Woods, Wake Forest 78-76-79-78--311 + 23
75. Carolina Andrade, Georgia 82-79-71-80--312 + 24
75. Jaqueline Hedwall, LSU 74-80-83-75--312 + 24
75. Rebecca Hellbom, New Mexico 79-80-77-76--312 + 24
75. Joy Kim, Virginia 79-77-79-77--312 + 24
75. Nikki Koller, Arizona 79-73-82-78--312 + 24
75. In-Ah Park, USC 79-79-75-79--312 + 24
75. Kate Thomas, UNC 76-77-80-79--312 + 24
82. Jean Chua, Wake Forest 81-78-77-77--313 + 25
82. Courtney Harter, Alabama 77-74-82-80--313 + 25
82. Amanda Johnson, Oklahoma St. 76-78-79-80--313 + 25
82. Maude-Aimee LeBlanc, Purdue 76-77-83-77--313 + 25
86. Kaitlin Drolson, Pepperdine 80-80-76-78--314 + 26
86. Sarah Faller, Denver 78-83-78-75--314 + 26
86. Ashley McKenney, Tulane 78-76-83-77--314 + 26
86. Tessa Teachman, LSU 78-73-79-84--314 + 26
90. Moa Duf, Chattanooga 79-79-76-81--315 + 27
90. Allyson Ferguson, TCU 80-81-77-77--315 + 27
90. Daniela Holmqvist, Tulane 77-76-82-80--315 + 27
90. Alejandra Llaneza, Arizona 83-79-76-77--315 + 27
90. Margarita Ramos, Arizona 78-77-83-77--315 + 27
90. Natalie Sheary, Wake Forest 80-75-83-77--315 + 27
96. Brooke Beeler, TCU 79-79-79-79--316 + 28
96. y-Cathryn Bristow, Oregon 78-79-79-80--316 + 28
96. Shannon Fish, Texas 74-79-82-81--316 + 28
96. Aimee Neff, Michigan St. 80-73-85-78--316 + 28
96. Nicole Smith, Tennessee 76-80-77-83--316 + 28
96. Amalie Valle, LSU 76-80-79-81--316 + 28
102. Diana Cantu, Tennessee 78-81-81-78--318 + 30
102. Shannon Warner, Michigan St. 83-83-78-74--318 + 30
104. Linn Gustafsson, Tulane 81-82-76-80--319 + 31
104. Lauren Hunt, UNC 81-76-78-84--319 + 31
104. Kristin Walla, Texas 82-79-78-80--319 + 31
107. Prisela Campbell, TCU 83-82-76-79--320 + 32
107. Lalita Patipaksiri, UC Irvine 80-82-80-78--320 + 32
109. Gemma Webster, Ohio St. 87-87-77-71--322 + 34
110. Samantha Troyanovich, Tulane 84-78-82-79--323 + 35
111. Allie Bodemann, Wake Forest 73-82-86-83--324 + 36
111. Yu Young Lee, Duke 83-81-82-78--324 + 36
113. Mikaela Backstedt, New Mexico 81-82-81-81--325 + 37
113. Joy Trotter, UC Irvine 87-79-85-74--325 + 37
115. Rhea Nair, Alabama 80-81-80-86--327 + 39
115. Hillary Packard, UC Irvine 87-82-81-77--327 + 39
115. Christine Wolf, Chattanooga 85-78-78-86--327 + 39
118. Tess Fordham, Georgia 82-88-74-85--329 + 41
119. Morgan Grantham, New Mexico 82-83-80-86--331 + 43
120. Caney Hines, Texas 79-86-88-80--333 + 45
120. Maria Juliana Loza, Chattanooga 83-82-88-80--333 + 45
120. Vaishavi Sinha, Purdue 88-83-85-77--333 + 45
123. Leigh Crosby, Georgia 87-80-87-81--335 + 47
124. Lauren Spurlock, Tennessee 84-83-85-84--336 + 48
125. Jessica Hauser, Ohio St. 93-81-82-84--340 + 52
ABOUT THE NCAA Division I Women's Championship

72 hole championship of NCAA Division I women's golf teams.

View Complete Tournament Information

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