ASU sophomore golfer Noemi Jimenez took home her first career individual victory at the Cal Classic tournament in Pleasanton, Calif. , on Tuesday.
Jimenez ended the contest at -5, five shots ahead of second place. She shot -4 (68) in the first round and -1 (71) in the second round, putting here ahead of the field throughout the span of the competition.
ASU women’s golf coach Melissa Luellen said Jimenez was on fire throughout he tournament.
“She did great,” Luellen said. “She was the only player under par. She putted well and hit the ball amazing. She gave herself the chance for birdies and converted.”
Junior Laura Blanco put on a strong showing on as well, finishing tied for sixth place at +2 for ASU.
“(Laura) is so close to being on the verge of shooting a lot of scores under par,” Luellen said. “She gets frustrated early, and it affects her, but she’s working on that. She needs to keep patient, and we all know how that can be sometimes.”
Junior Daniela Ordonez finished the tournament tied for 28th place at +7. Sophomore Emilie Alonso ended tied for 36th at +12. Junior Nicole Jones rounded out the tourney for ASU in 59th place at +32.
Ordonez said she likes the direction in which her individual and team’s play is headed.
“I think I did a better job this tournament,” she said. “I played much better than what the results showed. The field wasn’t that tough, but we achieved what we wanted and demonstrated we have what it takes.”
Collectively, No. 17 ASU was atop the team leader board Monday at +8 as the Classic’s first round came to a close. The lady Sun Devils lost their grip on first place after No. 13 Stanford rallied in the second round from a two-stroke deficit and shot eight strokes better than ASU; however, the maroon and gold managed to salvage the runner-up spot in the tourney’s standings.
“We had couple of bogeys that cost us the tournament, but it’s really nice to see Noemi play as well as she did,” Ordonez said. “There’s times you can’t control what happens. Nicole is struggling, and that makes a difference.”
ASU finished ahead of San Diego State (+21), No.11 UC Davis (+23), San Jose State, Coastal Carolina, No. 39 California, Oregon State, Fresno State and San Francisco.
The team is sure to move up in the standings after such a solid performance, Luellen said.
“We beat at least one team ranked ahead of us,” Luellen said. “The rankings are fine, but it all boils down to how you play in regionals and nationals. We’re not at full strength. … Hopefully, we get (junior) Justine (Lee) back in a couple of weeks. That’s when we’ll show our true strength.”
Luellen said Lee is not likely to return until after the team’s next tourney.
The team gets eight days off before heading to compete in The Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate tournament in Columbia, S.C., on March 8 through March 11.
Men’s team finishes sixth
Despite freshman Max Rotluff’s top-10 finish, things did not fare as well for the ASU men’s golf team at the North Ranch Intercollegiate at Westlake Village, Calif., on Monday and Tuesday.
Rottluff once again led the way for the Sun Devils by placing in the top 10 in his fourth straight tournament this spring.
After starting the final round of the North Ranch in a tied for sixth, Rottluff finished tied for 10th with Pepperdine junior Jeremy Sanders at +7.
ASU men’s golf head coach Tim Mickelson was very pleased with the output of one of his youngest players.
“Max has done a lot for us this spring,” Mickelson said. “For a freshman to do it with the type of schedule we’ve had is very impressive.”
Freshman Alberto Sanchez ended in a tie for 26th with San Diego State junior James Holley at +11, while ASU sophomore Austin Quick finished in a tie for 28th with Liberty sophomore Ian McConnell at +12.
ASU freshman Jon Rahm Rodriguez trailed right behind Sanchez and Quick in a five-way tie for 30th at +13.
Playing as an individual entrant for ASU, freshman Trey Ka’ahanui finished in a four-way tie for 41st at +16 in his first tourney of the spring.
“This was his second college tournament,” Mickelson said. “It gave us a chance to see what he’s capable of.”
Sophomore Mathias Schjoelberg tied for 53rd with three other players at +22.
As a team, No. 47 ASU tied for sixth place with UC Santa Barbara at +43.
The coach attributed the team’s score to the North Ranch Country Club’s layout and condition.
“There was a lot of wind,” Mickelson said. “The greens are very difficult. They’re undulated and fast.”
ASU placed behind BYU (+20), Pepperdine (+23), No. 29 Liberty (+29), San Diego State (+36) and tournament champion No. 8 USC (+11).
“We were the third-best team there,” Mickelson said. “It was a disappointment. As a coach, I need to figure out a way for us to start better. We were playing catch-up from the beginning. As for USC, they’re very solid 1-4 but there’s a little weakness in their fifth spot for a team looking to win a national championship.”
Placing sixth at the North Ranch shouldn’t hurt ASU much in the national rankings, Mickelson said.
“The finish isn’t going to hurt us much in the standings, but going into the event, I thought we would place higher.
After four tournaments in four weeks, ASU will take 12 days off before playing in their next competition, the two-day San Diego Intercollegiate in Chula Vista, Calif., on Mar. 11-12, 2013.
Mickelson, a San Diego native, is looking forward to see ASU participate in a tournament which he had a hand in creating while coaching at USD.
“This is a tournament I helped create,” Mickelson said. “I’m very excited to head back home, see the family and watch they guys compete.”
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