The No. 5 Sun Devils did not get off to the fast start they had hoped for to begin the season. ASU (19-over 859) finished seventh in the Dale McNamara Fall Preview, held in Tulsa, Okla. Defending NCAA champions and Pac-12 rival No. 1 USC (8-over 848) won the tournament.
Despite last year’s Dale McNamara Fall Preview victory, the Sun Devils just could not find their swing early enough this season, and when they did it was too late.
ASU was in the thick of things after the first round shooting 3-over 284 on the first day. But the Sun Devils struggled on day two, shooting 13-over 293. That would prove to be too deep a hole to climb out of, as they failed to mount a comeback on day three, shooting 2-over 282.
The lone bright spot from the tournament was the play of junior Noemi Jimenez. Jimenez (4-under 206) finished the tournament tied for second, and tried to keep ASU within striking distance. She was consistent throughout the tournament, finishing strong with a 2-under 68 outing. Coach Melissa Luellen said she was very pleased with Jimenez’s performance.
“Obviously, Noemi played extremely steady,” said Luellen. “She hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens… Her putting is good, chipping is good and she hits it straight. She’s just a great competitor. She’s a wonderful player. I’m very proud of her.”
Playing well at the golf course in Tulsa is especially important for Jimenez, because the 2013 Nationals will be held there. Luellen said that the course at Tulsa is a great place to hold a championship.
“The changes of this golf course are great,” Luellen said. “I think the scores indicate that it’s scoreable if you use your head and have great course management. If you try to play too assertive and too aggressive in places, you’ll be in trouble.”
The other Sun Devils did not fare as well in the tournament. Junior Emilie Alfonso and seniors Laura Blanco and Daniela Ordonez failed to find their stroke during the tournament, and neither finished higher than 28th in the tournament.
In her first tournament as a Sun Devil, freshman Monica Vaughn (15-over 225) finished tied for 58th. Vaughn struggled on the opening day of the tournament with a score of 6-over 76, but bettered her score by one stroke each day, finishing the last day with a respectable 4-over 74.
The next tournament for the Sun Devils will be the Mason Rudolph Invitational on Sept. 20 through Sept. 22 in Franklin, Tenn.
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