By Lindsay Gaesser, SDA Media Relations
TULSA, Okla.—The fifth-ranked Arizona State women’s golf team heads into the final round of the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships tied for sixth with NC State and in-state rival Arizona. Through 54 holes, the Sun Devils have a 31-over 871 (293-287-291) at the par-70, 6,194-yard Tulsa Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.
The wind was a bit more cooperative in today’s round. With gusts topping out at 16 miles per hour, compared to the 25-35 mile per hour gusts throughout the first two rounds of play, many teams saw their third round scores drop, which made for an active day on the leader board.
Third-ranked Duke made a run, shooting a 2-under 278 to move into the top spot on the team leader board. After leading through 36 holes, No. 7 Oklahoma slipped to third place after shooting 11-over in today's round. Top-ranked Southern California made some moves of its own today, climbing from a three-way tie for fourth place to second place.
Southern California’s Doris Chen shares first place on the individual leader board with Duke’s Celine Boutier. Chen and Boutier are the only golfers under par after three rounds of play, each with a 3-under 207.
Arizona State teed off at 12:55 p.m. CT from hole one with Duke and Oklahoma. Once again, the Sun Devils struggled with Tulsa Country Club’s unforgiving front nine. Carding 12 bogeys and a double bogey before making the turn, the Sun Devils had their work cut out for them on the back nine.
“We didn’t play our best round of golf today,” said ASU head coach Melissa Luellen. “We had some good putts that just didn’t go in, but our team is resilient. The way we handled the back nine, especially hole 14, was poetic.”
ASU traded birdies and bogeys down the home stretch. Junior Noemi Jimenez, who did not card a birdie in Wednesday’s round, birdied 17 after missing a hole-in-one by mere inches. Jimenez went 3-over for the day, which brought her three-round total to an 8-over 218 (69-76-73).
Freshman Monica Vaughn nabbed two birdies today, on holes nine and 16. After shooting a 2-over 72, Vaughn heads into Friday’s round with a 10-over 220 (75-73-72).
Junior Emilie Alonso and senior Laura Blanco both shot 73s on Thursday. Alonso carded back-to-back birdies on holes 15 and 16, while Blanco caught fire with three birdies of her own on 12, 16, and 18.
“We want to pick a goal within reach and I think a top-three finish is in reach,” said Luellen. “We didn’t have our best day. It’s a one-more-hole day to see how things finish. It’s team golf and crazy things can happen on the course.”
Heading into the final round tomorrow, Arizona State is 15 shots back from first-place Duke. For the Sun Devils, a comeback is not out of the question when it comes to team golf. Luellen’s 2007 squad erased a 12-shot deficit at the Stanford Intercollegiate to top then No. 2 Duke by four shots.
“There is a reason the NCAA Championships is four rounds,” added Luellen. “We’re going to be ready to hit the greens tomorrow.”
The Sun Devils will tee off Friday with No. 2 UCLA and No. 27 Mississippi State at 11:20 a.m. CT on hole one. Due to potential inclement weather for Friday afternoon, tee times for the final round of the NCAA Championships have been adjusted to start 30 minutes earlier for both the morning and afternoon waves of golfers.
Live scoring for the final round of the tournament is available at www.golfstat.com. For Friday’s round, the NCAA will provide a live webcast from holes 16, 17, and 18, with highlights and a recap provided once play has concluded.
On the Sun Devils...
Bringing your golf team to the city where you grew up, went to high school and starred at your hometown university, breeds perks not associated with NCAA competition. “I just love being here,” Arizona State head coach Melissa Luellen said. “It’s comfortable. I don’t have to use a GPS or get lost. It’s nice when you have a familiar feel.” [Read More]
For most of the field, the biggest foe faced during Tuesday’s opening round of the 2014 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship had nothing to do with shot choices or nerves.“Can someone turn off the fan?” Arizona State head coach Melissa Luellen exclaimed as she hugged UCLA head coach Carrie Forsyth, post-round, in the media workroom at Tulsa Country Club. [Read More]
It is a special week for Arizona State coach Melissa Luellen. The 12-year Sun Devil coach is not just leading her fifth-ranked team in the NCAA Women’s Golf Championships at Tulsa Country Club, but also returns for a homecoming — along with a class that has overcome challenges. [Read More]