Women's Golf Hosting PING/ASU Invitational
TEMPE, Ariz. – Sun Devil Women's Golf returns to action this weekend, hosting the 48th PING/ASU Invitational running March 26-28 at Papago Golf Club.
Coming off two consecutive team victories, Arizona State prepares for another PING/ASU Invitational. For the first time in over 40 years, the event was cancelled last season due to the pandemic. It returns to Papago Golf Club for just the second time. This is the fourth event in Arizona that the Sun Devils have competed in and third that they hosted, previously holding exciting events in The Clover Cup and Sun Devil Winter Classic.
"This year's PING/ASU Invitational means even more than usual," Head Coach Missy Farr-Kaye remarked. "We are excited to host an extremely strong field after missing out last season."
The PING/ASU Invitational is open to the public, with fans asked to follow all Papago Golf Club COVID-19 Guidelines. Spectators must wear a mask and follow all posted social distancing rules. Support your Sun Devil Women's Golf team and get a preview of the 2021 NCAA Women's Golf Championships, as several highly-ranked teams gather in Tempe. Follow along with scoring via Golfstat by visiting this link.
"Sun Devil Women's Golf has the best fans in the country and we are looking forward to hosting them safely," Coach Farr-Kaye added.
Sun Devil Women's Golf will host 15 teams and 84 total golfers at the PING/ASU Invitational. Arizona State is joined by Arizona, Baylor California, Cal Poly, Denver, Michigan, New Mexico, Northwestern, Oregon, Oregon State, San Jose State, Stanford, UCLA, and Washington State. A loaded field features six Top-25 teams in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, led by No. 4 Baylor. The Sun Devils come in at No. 8, while Michigan (#15), Northwestern (#19), Arizona (#21), and Oregon (#23) round out the ranked competition. Perineal contenders UCLA (#32) and Stanford (#34) make it eight of the Top-35 teams battling in Tempe.
Not only is there a lot of team talent, the individual field is stacked as well. Arizona State's Linn Grant leads the way at No. 4 in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. She is joined in the Top-10 by Northwestern's Irene Kim (#6) and UCLA's Emma Spitz (#7). Five of the Top-30 golfers are in the field as well as 22 of the Top-100, including Sun Devil Women's Golf's Ashley Menne (#65) and Alexandra Forsterling (#78).
Another competitive week of qualifying helped Missy Farr-Kaye select her counting five, one of the deepest lineups in the country.
Once again in the No. 1 slot is Linn Grant, who looks for her fifth consecutive individual tournament title. She is backed by Olivia Mehaffey, who has momentum and earns a look in the No. 2 spot this week.
Alexandra Forsterling battled her way back into the lineup to earn the No. 3 spot. Freshman Ashley Menne finds herself in the mix for the third straight event, claiming the No. 4 spot.
Alessandra Fanali will get things started at PING/ASU Invitatioanl on the first tee in the No. 5 role. Coach Farr-Kaye will get experience for two individuals as well, with Amanda Linner and Breyana Matthews getting going later in the day. Here is how the team will tee-off on Friday morning:
HOLE 1: Linn Grant – 8:36 AM MST
HOLE 1: Olivia Mehaffey – 8:27 AM MST
HOLE 1: Alexandra Forsterling – 8:18 AM MST
HOLE 1: Ashley Menne – 8:09 AM MST
HOLE 1: Alessandra Fanali – 8:00 AM MST
HOLE 10: Amanda Linner (i) – 9:30 AM MST
HOLE 10: Breyana Matthews (i) – 9:39 AM MST
Originally built in 1963, Papago Golf Course was one of the original Valley golf courses and has been an asset to the Phoenix public-golf community. Designed by well-known and esteemed golf course architect William Francis (Billy) Bell. The course provides spectacular views of Phoenix from its unique, strategic setting at the base of Papago Buttes. Despite its convenient central location, golfers experience a setting rich with the native elements that make Arizona a unique state.
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.
HISTORY AT PING/ASU INVITATIONAL
This is the 48th edition of the PING/ASU Invitational, which has developed a reputation as one of the toughest fields in the Spring women's golf season. It represents a prime opportunity for the top teams in the nation to get a taste of the intensity of postseason golf leading up to the conference champions. Arizona State has won the most event titles, claiming the team championship at PING/ASU an incredible 20 times. ASU last won the title in 2017 on their way to a National Championship.
The Maroon & Gold also boast the most individual medalists in tournament history, with Sun Devils earning the crown 16 times. Roberta Liti most recently won it in 2017, shooting a 206 (-10) to clinch the victory. Some of the top scores in program history have come at PING/ASU, with Monica Vaughn leading the way with a historic 64 (-8) in the first round of the 2017 version.
LAST TIME OUT
Sun Devil Women's Golf shot a tournament-best 277 -- with Olivia Mehaffey's school-record 62 leading the way -- to come back from six strokes down after the second round to win the Clover Cup by three over Arizona.
ASU shot 16-under 848 (288-283-277) to top second-round leader Arizona (281-284-286=851), with Mehaffey's historic round sparking the late charge.
Linn Grant continued to add to her incredible collegiate resume, having now won the individual championship at five different events in her brief career. Dating back to a victory at the Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational last season, Grant has won or shared individual medalist honors at five consecutive events, accomplishing an incredible feat. She shot 69 each day to finish at 9-under 207.
Four of those events had ten or more teams, which puts her in elite company in program history. Grant's run of three straight individual titles entering the Clover Cup was the first since Sun Devil Athletics Hall of Famer Wendy Ward's historic 1995 run, when she claimed the PING/ASU Invitational, Pac-10 Conference Championship, and the NCAA West Regional Championship en route to the Sun Devil undefeated season.
Mehaffey almost had a comeback of her own after shooting 75-71 in her first two rounds, she fired a 62 (-10) to finish at 8-under 208. Already one of the most decorated golfers in program history, Mehaffey adds another accolade to her impressive resume. Not only did she break the program record, she beat it by two strokes, with 64's previously carded by Monica Vaughn at the 2017 PING/ASU Invitational and Louise Stahle at the 2005 Wildcat Invitational.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Live scoring will be provided by Golfstat at the following link. For the latest updates and information on the PING.ASU Invitational and the Sun Devil Women's Golf program, follow our Twitter/Instagram accounts (@SunDevilWGolf), like our Facebook page (facebook.com/sundevilwgolf/), and visit our website (thesundevils.com).
- 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.