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2021 Women's Golf Season Preview

Jan 22, 2021

ASU at No. 4 in Golf Channel's Preseason Rankings | Coach Farr-Kaye Announces 2021 Women's Golf Schedule | Grant, Mehaffey Named to ANNIKA Award Preseason Watch List | By the Numbers: Missy Farr-Kaye's Five-Year Run

TEMPE, Ariz. – The 2021 Sun Devil Women's Golf team enters an unprecedented season with optimism and confidence, ready to navigate another challenging schedule and make a run at the NCAA Championships in May. 
Sun Devil Women's Golf Head Coach Missy Farr-Kaye will lead the No. 4 team in Golf Channel's Preseason Spring Power Rankings through a six-event slate, including four taking place in the state of Arizona. The 2017 National Coach of the Year and three-time National Champion enters her sixth season at the helm of her alma mater with one of the most well-rounded teams in the nation. 
"The team is really excited to get going," Coach Farr-Kaye said. "Even with the possibility of poor weather this weekend, they are excited. It has been a long time without competing as a team. They are ready to go."
All six golfers from the No. 3-ranked team in the nation return to Tempe to form one of the deepest and most talented lineups in the country.
The addition of two talented local freshman gives Head Coach Missy Farr-Kaye plenty of options and flexibility with her lineup. Competition in practice has raised the level of play and intensity of the group, as the eight golfers are eager to start the 2021 season. 
"Having such a deep team is a great luxury, but it can also be difficult," Coach Farr-Kaye observed. "We will have qualifying before every tournament, so we will have three that don't compete each time. That is hard on them, but I foresee the lineup changing every week. I told them to be ready for that. The competition in practice brings the best out in everyone."
The challenges of this global pandemic has brought the team closer, something that standout Olivia Mehaffey thinks will prepare the them for anything that comes their way. 
"This is the largest team I've played on in my 5 years here," Mehaffey observed.  "It's a very special group of ladies and everyone contributes something different to the team. I believe the culture at ASU is amazing and the chemistry has always been a strength of ours. It's great to have everyone back and our bond will help us a lot this season with COVID and some new restrictions."
The continuity should give Arizona State an advantage, as the program brings back three All-Americans in addition to several candidates that will be considered for the honor this year. 
In a shortened 2019-20 season, Linn Grant capped one of the greatest freshman campaigns by receiving several All-American honors, including a First Team selection from Golfweek. 
Olivia Mehaffey concluded her fourth season in Tempe with a historic achievement, becoming just the third four-time All-American in program history after earning Honorable Mention distinction from the WGCA & Golfweek. 
Alessandra Fanali enjoyed a breakout sophomore campaign which resulted in her landing on multiple All-American teams, including a spot on Golfweek's Third Team.
Another key member of the Sun Devil Women's Golf program does not come in the form of a player, but rather a Coach. Michelle Estill was promoted to Associate Head Coach this offseason after spending the previous four seasons as an Assistant Coach. During that time, the program reclaimed elite status under the direction of Estill and Farr-Kaye, who are both also Arizona State alumni. With Coach Farr-Kaye's recent health announcement, Estill will be counted on even more. She is well equipped to navigate the Sun Devils during these unprecedented times.
"Coach Estill is going to be a big part of our season yet again because she has to keep the ship afloat every other week," Coach Farr-Kaye mentioned. "She is the perfect person to handle this situation with her experience and the relationship she has with the players. I am out for five days every other week, but we talk every day even when I am in treatment. I definitely like to be kept up to speed on everything. And the girls know that they can contact me any time. They are getting used to understanding that just because I am not there, doesn't mean I am not paying attention. Everybody is getting used to the new normal and realizing they can still lean on me."
Arizona State will compete in six regular season events from January to April, leading up to the Pac-12 Championships and NCAA Championships. With so much uncertainty with the future of their schedule, Sun Devil Women's Golf compete harder and play with more urgency then ever before. 
"The approach is, because we didn't have a Fall, that we want to make every round count," Coach Farr-Kaye remarked. "There is a higher level of intensity right at the beginning. There is still so much uncertainty around the season and they know that. That is why every opportunity when we are on a golf course competing, it counts and we need to make the most of it."
The Maroon & Gold won't have to travel far for a majority of their schedule, with four tournaments taking place in Arizona and two hosted in Southern California. The program will host two tournaments, with the Sun Devil Winter Classic joining the annual PING/ASU Invitational on the home slate. Getting to compete in their own backyard is something that has the Sun Devils eager to get the campaign underway. 
"We are very excited for our schedule and that we get to stay home and host," Olivia Mehaffey said. "It's great to not have to travel much and means we can spend less time on the road and more time preparing. We are very fortune to know a lot of the courses we will play this spring."
The Match in the Desert – January 24-25 (Gold Canyon, AZ)
Arizona State won't have to leave the state for their first tournament of the season, competing in The Match in the Desert hosted by the University of Denver. ASU is joined by UCLA, Denver, and Arizona in the 36-hole two-day tournament. The event is scheduled to run January 24-25 at Superstition Mountain Golf Club in Gold Canyon. This is the third consecutive season that the Sun Devils will compete in Denver's event, opening the 2020 Spring campaign with a win over No. 20 UCLA and No. 50 Denver a year ago. The 2019 edition saw Arizona State top Georgia and Denver in the typical one-day, 18-hole version. That will change this season, as it takes place over two days and will be 36 holes.
A season ago, Arizona State (-1/287) narrowly edged out fellow Pac-12 foe UCLA (E/288) and tournament-host Denver (E/288) for the program's 90th team championship since 1982. Alessandra Fanali was not only the highest-finishing Sun Devil, she paced the field with a 68 (-4), matching her season-low. The sophomore put together her fifth-career round in the 60s, taking home her first-ever collegiate Individual Championship. 

This was the second consecutive year the Sun Devils have won. Freshman Amanda Linner made her collegiate debut, showing poise despite competing in just her first tournament.  In 2019, ASU finished with the exact same score (-1/287) in addition to accounting for the individual winner, as Alexandra Forsterling shot a tournament-best 69 (-3).
Sun Devil Winter Classic – February 15-17 (Scottsdale, AZ)
The Sun Devils will stay in Arizona for the second event of the season, as the program hosts the Sun Devil Winter Classic. The tournament is scheduled to run February 15-17 at Talking Stick Golf Club in Scottsdale. This is the first of two home contests for Arizona State and the inaugural edition of this tournament, as ASU hosts some of the top teams from around the country. Talking Stick Golf Club is located next to Talking Sick Resort and features two highly-rated courses. 
Bruin Wave Invitational – March 1-3 (Somis, CA)
Arizona State returns to the Bruin Wave Invitational after a one-year hiatus, leaving their home state for the first time to neighboring California. The tournament is scheduled for March 1-3 at Saticoy Country Club in Somis. The club has hosted many U.S.G.A. Championship Qualifiers and SCGA Amateur Championships. The Sun Devils last competed at the 2019 Bruin Wave Invitational, where Olivia Mehaffey claimed the Individual title thanks to a strong final round. ASU finished in third as a team at the two-day event held at San Luis Obispo Golf Club. The Invitational is extended to three-days this season. Back in 2016, the Sun Devils finished in second as a team, continuing their long tradition of success at UCLA-hosted tournaments. The strong performances date back to the 1980s when current Head Coach Missy Farr-Kayewon the 1987 Trojan-Bruin Desert Classic. 
Clover Cup – March 12-14 (Mesa, AZ)
Sun Devil Women's Golf is participating in the Clover Cup for the first time since 2018, when they finished second as a team. The three-day event is hosted by Notre Dame at the Longbow Golf Club. ASU will not have to venture far for this tournament, competing in Arizona for the tbird time. The Sun Devils will be looking for their third Clover Cup Championships, previously winning back in 2015 & 2017. Coach Farr-Kaye's team claimed the title in 2017, a victory that spring boarded the team to a National Championship. It was a significant moment for four-time All-American Olivia Mehaffey, as she earned her first top-10 collegiate finish, tying for sixth place (213/-3).
PING/ASU Invitational – March 26-28 (Phoenix, AZ)
After last year's edition was cancelled due to the global pandemic, the Sun Devils are eager to host the 2021 PING/ASU Invitational. The three-day event will take place March 26-28 at Papago Golf Club in Phoenix. The home of Sun Devil Men's and Women's Golf, was recently named the Arizona Course of the Year by the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) of Arizona. The annual host venue of both the ASU/PING Invitational and Thunderbird Collegiate has long been considered one of the top courses in the state, but now has earned the official title after being crowned by the NGCOA. The iconic course has hosted numerous historic events, dating back to the US Amateur Public Links Championship in 1971. It is also home to the nationally-renowned Thunderbirds Golf Complex, the state-of-the-art practice facility for both Sun Devil Golf programs that set a new standard in collegiate golf.
Arizona State has enjoyed a long tradition of success at the PING/ASU Invitational dating back to the days at Karsten Golf Course. The Sun Devils have won a total of 20 Team Championships, while 17 Sun Devils have captured the Individual title since the tournament began in 1973. ASU last won in 2017 on their way to a National Championship, with Roberta Liti earning Individual medal honors. 
Silverado Showdown – April 5-7 (Napa, CA)
The Sun Devils cap the regular season with a trip to California for the Silverado Showdown, a three-day event co-hosted by Oregon and Colorado. The tournament is being held April 5-7 at the North Course of the Silverado Country Club & Resort. Arizona State last appeared in this even in 2018, where an undermanned Sun Devil squad with only four golfers in the lineup still managed to finish in the Top-10. 
Pac-12 Championship – April 23-25 (Stanford, CA)
The 2021 Pac-12 Championships will be hosted by Stanford and will take place at Stanford Golf Course after the championships scheduled for the same location last season were cancelled. This is a course that the Sun Devils are familiar with, as they won the Stanford Intercollegiate in October of 2019 at Stanford Golf Course. In the previous Pac-12 Championship even, ASU finished third as a team while Olivia Mehaffey became the program's 13th Pac-12 Individual Champion, the most of any school. As usual, the Territorial Cup Series® point will be awarded to the higher finisher between Arizona State and Arizona. The Sun Devils eight Pac-10/12 Championships are tied for the most in the conference. ASU's last team title was in 2009 when Carlota Ciganda earned individual medalist honors in a playoff with teammate Jennifer Osborn.
NCAA Regionals – May 10-12 (Stanford/Louisville/Columbus/Baton Rouge)
ASU made their 27th consecutive NCAA Regionals appearance in 2019, now just one of nine teams nationally to have participated in a Regional every year since the postseason format was changed. At the Norman Regional two years ago, Olivia Mehaffey battled inclement weather on her way to earning Co-Medalist honors. She became the eighth Sun Devil to earn at least a share of the individual regional title. Arizona State qualified for the NCAA Championships thanks to their fifth-place finish. As a team, the Sun Devils have won five NCAA Regionals team titles, including their most recent one in 2017. In 2021, NCAA Regionals are hosted by Stanford, Louisville, Ohio State, and LSU.
NCAA Championships – May 21-26 (Scottsdale, AZ)
Due to the cancellation of the 2020 events, the NCAA announced that Arizona State University and Grayhawk Golf Club will now host the 2021 through 2023 NCAA Division I Men's & Women's Golf Championships in Scottsdale, Ariz. 
"It is really special to host the NCAA Championships at Grayhawk this season and so excited that we get three years to put on this prestigious event," Coach Farr-Kaye exclaimed. "For us, it is not just the road to Grayhawk. It is the road to the final day of the NCAA Championship. That is our journey, the road to May 26th and the finals. Everything we do leads to that and we are very intentional about that."
It will be the first time a university and golf course will host the championships for three consecutive seasons. The championship will be contested on Grayhawk Golf Club's Raptor course, a par-72, 7,090-yard and broadcasted live on Golf Channel. This will represent the first time ASU has hosted an NCAA Golf Championship since the women's program hosted in 1992. By virtue of their fifth-place finish at the Norman Regional in 2019, the Sun Devils appeared in their nation-leading 35th national championships in Fayetteville. Thanks to their 14th place finish at the 2019 NCAA Championship, Women's Golf earned 60 points in the Directors' Cup, which was the third highest total among Sun Devil Athletics programs. Arizona State's eight NCAA Championships are the most of any program, with the last title coming in 2017. 
"I think it's great we always play a tough schedule," Olivia Mehaffey mentioned. "We are very lucky the Pac-12 is so strong and every week we are competing against the best. I believe that helps us prepare for how nationals will be. It's very exciting for us to get to play nationals at home this year and our focus is already on that."
Because of the unprecedented circumstances, the following dates are subject to change. As always, stay tuned to our website and our social media platforms (@SunDevilWGolf) for the latest information.

  • Four-time All-American that will attempt to become the first five-time All-American in program history. Currently one of only three four-time All-Americans in the history of the program, joined by Sun Devil Athletics Hall of Famer Kellee Booth (1995-98) and current LPGA Tour standout Azahara Munoz (2006-09).
  • Competed in three LPGA Major Championships during the 2020 offseason, making the cut at the AIG Women's Open and competing at the ANA Inspiration and U.S. Women's Open.
  • Currently ranked as the No. 17 female amateur golfer in the world and was tabbed as Golf Channel's as the nation's No. 17 overall golfer in their Spring Power Rankings heading into the 2021 season.
  • The reigning Pac-12 Conference Individual Medalist has finished in the Top-40 of the final Golfstat Individual Rankings in four consecutive year.
  • 20 career Top-10 finishes and 20 career rounds in the 60s, two totals which put her in the Top-30 in the NCAA record books.
  • Her 11 rounds at or under par last season gave her 65 in her career, one of the Top-15 highest totals in the history of the sport.
  • A 72.74 career stroke average also puts her in the NCAA's Top-30 all-time.
  • Was an integral part of the 2017 National Championship team as a freshman.
  • Two-time Palmer Cup participant and two-time Augusta National Women's Amateur invitee.
  • Named to the Preseason ANNIKA Award Watch List as one of the candidates for National Player of the Year back in September.
  • 2020 WGCA All-American Scholar

"I'm excited for this semester and grateful for this opportunity considering I thought I wouldn't get to finish my college career the way I would have liked," Olivia Mehaffey stated. "We have a great team and I am very excited for what's to come in the next few months."

  • One of the most decorated golfer's in the nation, ranked as the No. 2 individual in Golf Channel's Preseason Spring Power Rankings. 
  • Currently the No. 2-ranked female amateur in the World, reaching the highest WAGR of her career.
  • Named to the Preseason ANNIKA Award Watch List as one of the candidates for National Player of the Year back in September.
  • Managed to remain in the Top-10 of the Golfstat Individual Rankings all of last season, eventually settling at No. 8 in the final edition.
  • One of 11 recognized by the WGCA as a First Team All-American in 2020
  • Golfweek tabbed her as a Second Team All-American.
  • Earned a spot on the ANNIKA Award Spring Watch List as one of 15 finalists for National Player of the Year.
  • Finished in the Top-10 at five of her seven tournaments and carded a team-high 12 rounds under par.
  • Took home Individual Medalist honors while leading her team to a victory at the Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational, the only Sun Devil to pick up an individual win in 2020
  • The highest finishing Sun Devil at the IJGA Collegiate Invitational in Guadalajara, putting together one of three Top-10 finishes (T-6th).
  • Played brilliantly at the Stanford Intercollegiate (-6/207), placing third individually amongst one of the strongest fields in the country. A big reason why Arizona State captured their most significant Team Championship of the season, beating out six other Top-25 teams.
  • Carded back-to-back 69's (-2) at the U.S. Women's Open, making the cut at the LPGA Major Championship. Ended the tournament with a 291 (+7), finishing in the Top-25 among the best golfers in the World in a tie for 23rd.  Among the 24 amateurs in the field, she finished with the fourth-best total, one of only six amateurs to make the cut.
  • Helped Sweden win their third-consecutive European Team Championship and also finished in sixth at the European Amateur Championships.
  • Palmer Cup champion and two-time Augusta National Women's Amateur invitee.


  • Emerged as a reliable and consistent piece of the Sun Devil lineup, helping Arizona State finish at No. 3 in the final national polls last season.
  • Tabbed by Golfweek as a Third-Team All-American.
  • Recognized as a WGCA Honorable Mention All-American.
  • Five Top-20 finishes, highlighted by her second career Top-10.
  • Played her best golf at the end of the season, earning a tie for sixth place at the Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational, the final tournament of 2020.
  • Individual Champion of the Duel in the Desert (-4/68), helping lead the Sun Devils to victory over Denver and No. 16 UCLA while beating out 20 other golfers for the top spot.
  • Recorded her first collegiate hole-in-one on the par-three 15th hole at the Royal Golf Club (Lake Elmo, MN) in the first round of the ANNIKA Intercollegiate.
  • Back-to-back Top-15 finishes to start the season, a sign of the breakout sophomore season that was to come.
  • Earned a 10th place finish at the Windy City Collegiate, moving-up 13 spots on the final day thanks to a 69 (-3).
  • Two rounds in the 60s, including a team-best 68 (-4) in the first round of the ANNIKA Intercollegiate.
  • 2020 WGCA All-American Scholar
  • Finished in the Top-15 at the 2020 European Amateur (13th) at the European Amateur Championships this offseason. Also represented Italy at the European Team Championships, helping them finish 2-1 in match play and in fifth place.


  • One of the Sun Devils' most experienced golfers, having played in 33 tournaments during her career including two NCAA Championships.
  • Six career Top-10 finishes on her resume, with three coming last season.
  • Proved why she has been a mainstay in the Sun Devil lineup over the past three years, putting together an excellent junior year last season.
  • Recorded three Top-10 finishes, highlighted by a fifth-place effort (-3/210) at the Stanford Intercollegiate, helping the Sun Devils claim their first Team Championship of the season.
  • Played some of her best golf towards the end of the season, earning fifth place at the Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational, leading Arizona State to their second Team Title.
  • Highest finishing Sun Devil at the Pac-12 Preview (-5/214), placing sixth.
  • Finished in the Top-10 while helping Arizona State defeat Denver and No. 16 UCLA at the Duel in the Desert
  • Carded three rounds in the 60s, while ending five of her rounds under par.
  • 2020 WGCA All-American Scholar
  • Competed at the U.S. Women's Amateur, earning the 18th overall seed after stroke play in a field of 132 golfers.


  • Rising junior that has been a mainstay in the Sun Devil lineup over the past two season, competing in 17 of 19 events in her career.
  • Eight Top-20 finishes to her name, including three Top-10's.
  • Showed promise during a sophomore season in which she played in six of eight events
  • Finished in a tie for eight at the Duel in the Desert, helping lead the Sun Devils to victory over Denver and No. 16 UCLA.
  • Earned back-to-back Top-20 finishes to start her season.
  • Posted her second-highest career finish, tying for 11th at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate.
  • Shot her fifth-career round in the 60s during the second day of the ANNIKA Intercollegiate.
  • Consistent performer at the Windy City Collegiate, helping the Sun Devils finish five-under as a team.
  • Ended under par at two tournaments in 2020 after not doing so in 2019. 
  • 2020 WGCA All-American Scholar.
  • Represented Germany at the 2020 European Team Championships, helping them make a run to the match play finals for the first time since 2009. Went head-to-head with teammate Linn Grant and Sweden in the European Team Championship, finishing the event 2-1 in match play.


  • Mid-year addition to the last year's Arizona State roster, arriving prior in the 2020 Spring semester from Sweden.
  • Made an immediate impact in the Maroon & Gold, quickly earning a spot in the lineup.
  • Displayed flashes of brilliance during an abbreviated freshman campaign.
  • Competed in three tournaments and four events total, accumulating valuable experience as she looks forward to her second season in Tempe.
  • Made her Sun Devil debut at the Duel in the Desert in January, helping Arizona State defeat Denver and No. 16 UCLA to capture the event title.
  • Showed her development by earning a career-best finish (T-28th) at the Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational, the final tournament of the season. Arizona State captured their second Team Championship at this event, the first with Linner in the lineup
  • Participated in the inaugural Augusta National Women's Amateur back in 2019, one of five Sun Devils to play in the prestigious event
  • Played in the 2018 AJGA's Thunderbird International Junior Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, the sight of the 2021-23 NCAA Championships.


  • One of two incoming highly-touted local recruits ready to make their Sun Devil Women's Golf debut in 2021.
  • Earned five wins in six Arizona Golf Association events during her offseason. 
  • 2020 Women's State Amateur Stroke Play Champion, winning the title at Grayhawk Golf Club, the home of the 2021-23 NCAA Championships.
  • Three-time AIA Division I Individual State Champion and one of two signees out of local high school Xavier Prep.
  • Took home the 2018 state title by going four-under at Tucson National Golf Course.
  • Captured the 2017 individual state championship thanks to a three-under performance.
  • Shared medalist honors in a rain-shortened 2016 AIA championship event her freshman season.
  • In all three seasons (2016-18), she would lead the Gators to the AIA Division I Team State Championship in dominating fashion.
  • During her junior season in 2018, Xavier won the title by an incredible 33-strokes.
  • One of a select few female Arizona High School golfers that won three Division I individual state titles.
  • Received the Arizona High School Girls Golfer of the Year Award at the AZ Central Sports Awards each of the four years she was a Gator (2016-19).
  • In addition to her success at the prep level, she has also earned hardware at some of the top competitive junior events.
  • Set a record by collecting four consecutive Junior Golf Association of Arizona individual titles. As a result, she is a four-time winner of the JGAA Player of the Year Award (2016-19).
  • Three-time Jox Sports Arizona Junior Golfer of the Year (2018-20).
  • Earned 43 total victories at JGAA events in her four years prior to arriving in Tempe
  • Has ranked as high as 114th in the Women's Amateur Golf Rankings.


  • Talented local standout who is one of two freshman phenoms out of local high school Xavier Prep.
  • Stayed busy this offseason competing in several local tournaments, including earning a victory at the Arizona Golf Association Women's Scotch Play Championship.
  • Knocked off the top-seeded golfer to reach the 2020 AGA State Amateur Match Play semi-finals.
  • Played an integral role in the Gators winning two AIA Division I State Championship in 2017 & 2018.
  • Finished in the Individual Top-15 at her final three State Championship events, highlighted by a third-place finish (+1/145) in 2018.
  • Teamed up with future Sun Devil teammate Ashley Menne to help Xavier win the 2018 title by an astounding 33 strokes.
  • Team's second-highest finisher at the 2019 State Championship, earning 14th place in a field of 73 golfers.
  • One of three Gators to finish in the Top-15 at the 2017 tournament, which Xavier won by nine strokes.
  • AZ Central tabbed her as a finalist for the Arizona High School Girls Golfer of the Year in 2018.
  • Comes to Tempe with extensive experience in national and local tournaments, having competed in AJGA and JGAA events throughout her career.
  • At the 2020 U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball Qualifier in Mission Hills, Kansas, she teamed up with her partner to finish with the lowest score (68) of anyone at the regional.
  • Has compiled eight top-three finishes at JGAA events, including four victories.
  • Won the 2019 Thunderbird Invitational-PING Jr Masters at her future collegiate home, Papago Golf Course.
  • She also has titles at the 2018 Northern AZ Jr Championship, 2017 AM&E Classic - Bryce Molder Jr Masters, and the 2017 Holiday Challenge.
  • Finished second to Ashley Menne at the 2018 FCWT Junior Golf Tournament at Grayhawk Golf Club, home of the 2021-23 NCAA Championships.

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