UCLA wins 38th Annual Ping/ASU Invitational
By Mark Cerick
Arizona State’s women’s golf team hosted the 38th Annual Ping/ASU Invitational this past weekend on home territory, but top ranked UCLA stole the show for the third straight year. The Bruins dominated again, this time by 12 strokes over second-place ASU.
It was all UCLA once again. The top-ranked Bruins posted rounds of 284-281-292 for a 5-over 857. Ani Gulugian, Lee Lopez, and Tiffany Lua from UCLA all placed in the top three. Demi Runas from UC Davis tied Gulugian for first in the annual tournament.
Pac-12 teams that competed in the invitational over the weekend include No. 1 UCLA, No. 3 USC, No. 5 Arizona State, No. 20 Arizona, No. 23 Washington, No. 42 Stanford, and No. 50 Oregon State.
Arizona State has won the PING team championship17 times, most recently in 2007. But, UCLA has been the dominant team in recent years.
The Pac-12 is extremely strong in women’s golf, and this tournament was no different. UCLA played their way to the title, followed by Arizona State; USC tied for fifth with UC Davis; Arizona was 10th and Stanford finished next; Washington tied for 14th with New Mexico, and Oregon State rounded out the Pac-12 contingent at 17th place.
ASU Karsten Golf course is set at a par-71, 6, 121-yards it provides a significant challenge for collegiate golf, both men and women. The Bruins were the only team to come close to shooting par golf. The wind didn’t help, gusting sometimes as high as 15 mph during the final round.
No. 1 UCLA has been the dominant team in NCAA golf this season. In eight tournament starts, the Bruins have won five times, and placed second three times.
ASU lead the 17-team field after the first-round, getting career best rounds from sophomores Justine Lee (67) and Laura Blanco (69). The Sun Devils were unable to hold onto their good start, giving way to UCLA.
Some consolation for Arizona State is how they responded to past difficulties. The hosts Sun Devils were pleased with the way they played two holes on the back nine. ASU Coach Melissa Luellen said ASU finally figured out holes 16 and 18 the third round. Both holes contain significant bodies of water that run directly next to the fairway and greens. Couple that with the high winds, and you have a recipe for disaster.
The end result was, while Arizona State lost to UCLA, they separated themselves from the rest of a pretty strong field.
“The way we played (holes) 16 and 18 were probably the best we’ve ever played the holes,” Luellen said. “(Hole) 16 has always been our nemesis.”