By Lindsay Gaesser, SDA Media Relations
TEMPE, Ariz.—Backed by junior Noemi Jimenez’ blistering 6-under 66 in the final round, the sixth-ranked Arizona State women’s golf team finished the 2014 PING/ASU Invitational tied for second place with No. 3 Duke and No. 11 Washington. The Sun Devils shot a tournament total of 5-under 859 (287-287-285).
The Game Cocks of South Carolina, who led by six strokes after the second round, cruised to a first place finish with an 11-under 853. Duke’s Celine Boutier took home the individual title with an 8-under 208, while Duke freshman Yu Liu was awarded the Anne Votik Outstanding Freshman Award after shooting a tournament total of 3-under 213 (75-72-66).
“My hat is off to South Carolina,” said ASU Head Coach Melissa Luellen. “They played really solid. And the way Duke started today, they charged right up to the lead. It’s a long weekend and it is amazing how it comes down to the last couple of holes. We were slightly disappointed that we didn’t finish the last two holes better. We just didn’t get off to our normal start.”
Recording her fourth top-five finish in a row, Jimenez took second place overall with a 7-under 209 (72-71-66). Jimenez finished just one stroke back from tournament champion Boutier. In the final round on Sunday, Jimenez tied her career-low 66 from the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge earlier this spring.
“Noemi shooting 6-under is really fun to watch,” said Luellen. “I didn’t really see her play much the whole weekend with the way that Missy [Farr-Kaye] and I set up the coaching, so it was really fun to watch her do six birdies today and lead the team to a tie for second.”
Also placing in the top 20 for the Sun Devils were seniors Dani Ordonez and Justine Lee. Ordonez, who tied for 17th overall, shot a 1-over 217 (73-71-73). After shooting 1-under 143 through 36 holes, Lee struggled to find her rhythm in Sunday’s round. Carding five bogeys for the day, Lee finished with a three-day total of 2-over 218, tying her for 20th.
Freshman Monica Vaughn climbed the leader board after shooting 1-under 71 in the final round. Vaughn tied for 27th overall with a 3-over 219 (72-76-71). Junior Emilie Alonso slipped from 19th to 40th after tallying six bogeys on Sunday. Alonso finished at 7-over 223 (73-72-78).
Laura Blanco, Saki Iida, and Nicole Jones competed as individuals in the tournament. Blanco, back from injury, shot even-par 216 (70-72-74) through 54 holes, tying her for 12th in her spring season debut.
“It was great to see her play, and play well,” said Luellen of Blanco’s return. “There is a different pressure from playing in the lineup and just playing for yourself. I am so happy that she made it through four days of golf—three days of tournament and a practice round. Seeing her take a healthy turn for the rest of the season is a good feeling.”
Iida, who shot a new season- and career-low 72 in the final round, tied for 40th place overall with a 7-over 223 (76-75-72). Nicole Jones tied for 69th, shooting a three-day total of 18-over 234 (77-75-82).
The Sun Devils return to action April 25-27 when they head to Corvallis, Ore. to compete in the Pac-12 Championships.
“We have to get that push going for the Pac-12, which is the best conference in the country,” said Luellen of the weeks ahead. “There are a lot of great teams, as we can see from the results throughout the year. It is going to be a lot of fun going into postseason.”
Of the nine Pac-12 schools competing in the PING/ASU Invitational this weekend, Arizona State and Washington led the pack, while Jimenez recorded the best finish of all the Pac-12 golfers.
|2||Noemi Jimenez (1)||72||71||66||209||-7|
|T17||Dani Ordonez (4)||73||71||73||217||+1|
|T20||Justine Lee (2)||70||73||75||218||+2|
|T27||Monica Vaughn (5)||72||76||71||219||+3|
|T40||Emilie Alonso (3)||73||72||78||223||+7|
|T12||Laura Blanco (Individual)||70||72||74||216||E|
|T40||Saki Iida (Individual)||76||75||72||223||+7|
|T69||Nicole Jones (Individual)||77||75||82||234||+18|