ST. ANDREWS, Scotland—In what had become a recent tradition of sorts for the Arizona State women’s golf team, three Sun Devils were named to the Solheim Cup team representing Europe in the prestigious biennial match-play challenge against the United States.
Held every two years, the Solheim Cup has become a staple for Sun Devil golf alumni through out the history of the contest but ASU’s impact on the Ryder Cup equivalent for women’s golf was never more prevalent than in recent years with Anna Nordqvist, Azahara Munoz and Carlota Ciganda each chosen to represent team Europe. Jennifer Johnson, the 2009 NGCA Freshman of the Year, narrowly lost out on qualifying for team USA in the final round of qualifying.
Aside from two veteran players, who each have made seven Solheim Cup appearances, Nordqvist leads a crew of young European professionals after earning her third-consecutive Solheim Cup team spot. As a part of head coach Melissa Luellen’s first wave of recruits into Arizona State, Nordqvist was named NGCA Freshman of the Year, Pac-12 Golfer of the Year and Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in 2006. In her final season and a half for ASU, Nordqvist finished in the top-10 12 times before turning pro after the Fall semester of her junior season in 2008.
Munoz, the 2010 LPGA Rookie of the Year, is making her second-straight Solheim cup team. Qualifying this time through LPGA rankings, Munoz was labeled as the hero in Europe’s 15-13 come from behind win back in 2011. Munoz, a captain selection at the time, clinched the final point needed for the team’s victory with a one-hole win over Angela Stanford. Calling it the, “best shot of her life,” Munoz hit the ball within five feet of the cup to secure the victory with a birdie putt.
The Spaniard’s success is not shocking if you followed her career at Arizona State. Not only a diligent golfer, winning the 2008 NCAA Individual Championships followed by the NCAA Team Championship in 2009 and recording the second-lowest scoring average in ASU history with 71.72 in 2008-09, Munoz excelled academically and made a point to stay all four years to graduate. She is a two-time Edith Cummings Munson award winner, four-time NGCA Scholar All-American, a Capital One Academic All-American and was named the 2009 Pac-12 Senior Scholar Athlete.
Turning pro in 2011, Carlota Ciganda makes her first appearance on the Solheim Cup team after dominating the Ladies European Tour last season. Ciganda, the first-ever back-to-back Pac-10 Champion, was only the second golfer in tour history to win both the European Tour Rookie of the Year Title and the money list title in 2012. Ciganda was a three-time All-American and All-Pac-12 first-team selection at ASU and was a member of the 2009 team to win the NCAA Championship.
The 2013 Solheim Cup will be held at the par-72 Colorado Golf Club, Aug 16-18, in Parker, Colo.