It was an up-and-down day for ASU women’s golf on the second day of the PING/ASU Invitational, but the Sun Devils remain in second place following another 1-under par round at the ASU Karsten Golf Course. South Carolina shot 8-under on the day to take the top spot by six strokes.
Junior Noemi Jimenez and senior Daniela Ordonez led the way for the Sun Devils with scores of 1-under par with 71. They were followed by junior Emilie Alonso (even at 72), senior Justine Lee (1-over 73) and freshman Monica Vaughn (4-over 76).
ASU shot 11 birdies on the day, but also had 12 bogeys and a double bogey. Coach Melissa Luellen saw a good effort from her team but also sees some room for improvement for the final day.
“The ball striking was really good, the players are hitting a lot of greens and giving themselves a lot of chances,” Luellen said. “I thought we weren’t quite as aggressive on our putting, a little tentative.”
The 18th hole provided a little drama for ASU and the spectators that were gathered around the final hole. On a par 4, Lee had taken two swings and was not on the green yet, so she looked destined for a bogey. However, after a tremendous approach on her third swing, she sank the ball for par and the crowd reacted with the loudest applause heard during the day.
Luellen said it is plays like that that give her team motivation heading into the final round Sunday.
“The fact that Justine got up-and-down for par on the last hole, there’s a difference of that carrying over to tomorrow versus her making bogey,” Luellen said. “It was really great to see her buckle down and fight to the very end.”
Coach Luellen and her Sun Devils say they are primed for a strong end to the tournament, and that being behind does not scare them.
“They really want to win, they’re in position. I think it’s better that we’re playing from behind with this group, that will help them stay really assertive,” Luellen said. “The team out front, they got it to lose. The teams behind got it to win. I think we’re comfortable playing in that position.”
Playing individually for the Sun Devils were seniors Laura Blanco (even at 72) and Nicole Jones (3-over 75), as well as freshman Saki Iida (3-over 75)
The top individual score for the tournament now belongs to Duke sophomore Celine Boutier, following up her score of 3-under with 69 on the first day with another 69 on day two.
Day three of the PING/ASU Invitational begins Sunday at 7:30 a.m.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @HKossodo