April 22, 2010

Courtesy of Pac-10 Athletics

EUGENE, Ore. -
Just like last year, it took a playoff to decide the 2010 Pac-10 women's golf individual champion. And just like last year, Arizona State sophomore Carlota Ciganda won on the first playoff hole over her teammate Juliana Murcia to become the only back-to-back individual conference champion in Pac-10 history.

"It's always special when you win a tournament and the Pac-10s is a great tournament," Ciganda said. "I'm ready to play regionals and nationals and hopefully I can play well and stay on top."

The playoff started on the 10th hole where Ciganda pulled her tee shot left into the rough but the Pamplona, Spain native drilled her next shot to within five feet of the pin. After Murcia chipped to within two feet and set up a par putt, Ciganda calmly walked up and hit her birdie putt for the title.

"I wasn't hitting my driver very well so I tried to hit a fade and it went over the bunker," Ciganda added. "I used a seven iron on my next shot and I knew it was the (right) club and I hit it really good. It was a playoff and a lot of it comes down to luck. We both played great and congratulations to (Juliana)."

Earlier in the day, with the championship on the line at the ninth hole, her last in regulation, Ciganda hit her tee shot into the trees on the left side of the fairway. Hitting her second shot from the mulch under a pine, she lined the ball to within 50 yards of the green. The approach landed 10 feet from the pin, giving Ciganda a putt for the chance to win. It missed just right and the tap-in bogey forced the playoff.

Murcia, who shot a 77 on day two after opening up with a 68, rebounded with a 3-under 69 to force the tie after rallying from seventh at the start of the day.

Both players were on their own essentially, after a pair of Sun Devils - Giulia Molinaro and Jennifer Johnson - were forced to withdraw from the tournament on Tuesday due to illness which disqualified Arizona State from attempting to repeat as Pac-10 Team Champions.

With the No. 2/1 (Golfstat/Golf Week) team in the country knocked out of contention, that opened up the field and No. 7/6 Arizona capitalized, making a third day rally to pull ahead of UCLA for the 2010 Pac-10 Team Championship. It is the Wildcats' seventh Pac-10 women's golf title, and first since taking five-of-six from 1997-2002.

Arizona was paced by sophomore Margarita Ramos, who shot a par 72 on the final day of play to finish the tournament tied for third place with four other players - Oregon's Kendra Little, UCLA's Tiffany Lua, USC's Jennifer Song and Arizona State's Jaclyn Sweeney. As a team, Arizona scored a 878 and all five UA golfers finished in the top-25 of the tournament with Isabelle Boineau joining Ramos in the top-10.

In second in the team standings was No. 1/2 UCLA (881), host No. 34/35 Oregon placed third (889), No. 5/5 USC took fourth (891) and No. 38/36 Washington was fifth (906). Rounding out the top-10 was No. 24/17 California (909), No. 14/13 Stanford (928), Washington State (965), Oregon State (967), and Arizona State (DQ).