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The History of ASU Women's Golf

During the last three decades, many of the premier amateur women's golfers have called Arizona State University home. Joanne Carner, Jane Bastanchury--Booth, Heather Farr, Danielle Ammaccapane, Pearl Sinn, Amy Fruhwirth, Brandie Burton, Emilee Klein and Grace Park are just a few.

Arizona State won its sixth national championship title in 1998 to reinforce its standing as one of the premier golf schools in the United States. The Sun Devils became the first women's collegiate golf team to ever win six championships in a decade with the 1998 win (1990, '93, '94, '95, '97, '98) and the first team to capture three national titles in a row (1993, '94, '95).

The roots of ASU women's golf began in the 1950s. Then-head coach Betty Graham was blessed with the arrival of Carner, who ruled women's amateur golf in the late 1950s and 1960s.

Carner began her national reign with victories at the 1956 U.S. Juniors and 1957 U.S. Amateur. A year later, Carner played on the U.S. Curtis Cup team, the first of her four Curtis Cup appearances. In 1960, she won medalist honors at the collegiate national championship.

Carner, who became the first woman in the United States to earn a golf scholarship, won a record five U.S. Amateur crowns and was the top-ranked U.S. female amateur on five occasions, according to Golf Digest. A 1982 LGPA Hall of Fame inductee, Carner has won in excess of $3 million and 43 tournaments during her 35-year pro career.

Carol Sorenson followed Carner as the Sun Devils' top golfer, capturing the 1962 national collegiate tournament and playing on the 1964 and '66 U.S. Curtis Cup teams.

The next Sun Devil ace was Bastanchury-Booth, who garnered a pair of Western Amateur and Trans National crowns. She became ASU's third national collegiate titleist when she won the 1969 AIAW Championship and was a member of three U.S. Curtis Cup teams.

A year later, Cathy Gaughan-Mant collected medalist honors at the AIAW Tournament.

ASU's women's golf tradition reestablished itself after a triumph at the 1975 AIAW Championship. The likes of Kelly Fuiks Leadbetter, Pia Nilsson, Alice Miller, Charlotte Montgomery, Nancy Taylor and Vicki Singleton helped fortify the Sun Devils on the national scene.

The decade of the '80s also marked the blossoming of the Sun Devil golf program with the appointment of former ASU golfer Linda Vollstedt as its fourth head coach. During Vollstedt's 21-year tenure, which ended with her retirement in June of 2001, the 1989, '93, '94 and '95 national coach of the year produced 41 All-Americans, 12 conference medalists and 15 top 10 NCAA finishes, in addition to 66 tournament wins and eight conference team titles.

Merten, Farr, Ammaccapane, Pamela Wright, Michelle Estill, Tina Tombs, Sinn, Fruhwirth, Park, Burton, Miriam Nagl and Jimin Kang can be counted among Vollstedt's top pupils.

Ammaccapane was the top-ranked U.S. amateur golfer in 1985 after collecting victories at the NCAA and U.S. Public Links Championships before distinguishing herself on the LPGA Tour where she now ranks 30th on the tour's all-time money list.

Wright joins Merten as one of just three Sun Devils to collect a pair of conference championships when she took home medalist honors at the '86 Pac West and `88 Pac-10 titles, respectively. In all, the native of Scotland garnered four collegiate wins.

Sinn was one of the top American amateurs in the 1980s, after she became the initial golfer to win both the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Public Links in the same year (1988). The three-time All-American played a key role in the U.S. victory at the World Team Amateur Championship.

As a freshman at Arizona State, Burton recorded one of the nation's finest seasons ever. She won her first five collegiate tournaments she finished and posted a collegiate record-tying six tournaments in 1989-90, including the Pac-10 title. She went on to the U.S. Curtis team before making the next step up to the LPGA Tour, where she now ranks 24th all-time on the LPGA career money list.

Fruhwirth and Missy Farr were also instrumental in the Sun Devils' 1990 NCAA title drive. Fruhwirth earned all-America honors three times, while Farr, who returned to her alma mater as an assistant coach in 2002, won medalist honors in her collegiate debut in 1986.

Emilee Klein, the 1994 NCAA Champion, is making a name for herself on the LPGA tour. Klein ranks 39th on the all-time LPGA money list since joining the professional circuit in 1994.

Three-time All-American Wendy Ward helped ASU to three national championships. The 1994 U.S. Amateur Champion, Ward was the conference medalist in 1993 and 1995. She was also a two-time recipient of the prestigious Honda Award for golf, presented to the outstanding female golfer of the year. Ward helped lead ASU to three consecutive national titles in the '90's. She won her first LPGA event in 1997 and now ranks 36th on the tour's all-time money list.

Kellee Booth helped ASU to its two most recent NCAA crowns ('97 & '98) and was a member of the 1995 "three-peat."

Grace Park continued that winning tradition. She became the first amateur since 1938 to sweep the major U.S. women's amateur events, winning the 1998 U.S. Amateur, the Western Amateur and the Trans National Championship. Park then went on to capture 1999 Pac-10 individual title and became the eighth Sun Devil to win an NCAA individual title which she did in 2000. Both Booth and Park have moved onto the LPGA Tour where they have continued their successes. Park has turned in six LPGA Tour victories, including her first career major win at the 2004 Kraft Nabisco Championship. She captured the Vare Trophy in 2004 after turning in the LPGA's lowest scoring average for the season and already ranks 18th on the career money list.

Jimin Kang and Louise Stahle are the latest Sun Devils to turn their attentions to the LPGA Tour after standout careers at ASU. Kang won the Pac-10 individual title and earned first-team All-America honors in 2002. She was the Futures Tour Player of the Year in 2004 and turned in the first LPGA win of her career with a victory at the 2005 LPGA Corning Classic.

The top-ranked junior in Europe, Stahle came to ASU from Sweden and turned in one of the finest seasons in school history before deciding to pursue a professional career. She earned National Player and Freshman of the Year honors in 2005, winning three tournaments, including the Pac-10 individual title, and turning in the nation's lowest stroke average.

The completion of The Karsten Course at ASU has provided ASU with an additional boost as one of the finest collegiate programs in America.

As Melissa Luellen, a former All-American and national champion at Tulsa, assumes the helm, the SunDevils aim to follow in the immortal footsteps of Carner, Sinn, Ammaccapane and Burton in enhancing the outstanding tradition of Arizona State University women's golf.

Arizona State Sun Devils Women's Golf
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