Sun Devils and Ducks Tie for PING Title at Papago
By Griffin Fabits, Sun Devil Media Relations Intern
PHOENIX, Ariz. - Rounding up six of the country's top-25 golf programs at Papago Golf Club for a weekend of golf turned out to be everything it was hyped to be.
The No. 8 ranked Sun Devils, seeking their third straight tournament title, battled a handful of teams before settling on a two-way tie with No. 23 Oregon for first place. The Sun Devils were locked with the 15th-ranked Michigan Wolverines as the afternoon lengthened. A handful of bogeys on hole 18 knocked Michigan into third.
The Sun Devils couldn't capitalize on Michigan's late scores, instead carding a few gut-wrenching bogeys of their own on the 18th hole. They ended deadlocked with Oregon, both teams finishing two-under par on the weekend (862).
Each of ASU, Oregon and Michigan held slim one-stroke leads on Sunday afternoon, a testament to the kind of talent in Phoenix this weekend. Three Sun Devils finished the tournament in the top-10.
Linn Grant flirted with a fifth consecutive tournament victory for much of the final round, before falling just one stroke short to Northwestern's Kelly Sim for first place. Grant stumbled out of the gate, but used a run of four birdies in six holes to climb back up the leaderboard.
She ended the tournament tied with teammate Amanda Linner for most birdies this weekend with 13.
"We are excited to be the co-champions of the 2021 PING tournament," said head coach Missy Farr-Kaye. "Linn almost pulled off another win, she was one putt away but just couldn't quite get the birdies rolling. She was super close to keeping her streak alive but with a second-place finish she's having a phenomenal spring and it's been amazing to watch.
"It's great to see a 67 by Olivia today, that was amazing. We still haven't had everybody going for an entire tournament, so the good thing is we haven't peaked yet and we're really looking forward to our next tournament, we only have one more before we head into the postseason. We're excited to watch Olivia and Linn compete at Augusta this coming week and everyone else will be at Silverado. We're getting to the heart of the season and into the postseason and I'm really excited and grateful that we're competing and playing. The best is yet to come is the way we're looking at it."
Olivia Mehaffey saved her finest for Sunday. After consecutive rounds of over-par to begin the weekend, the Sun Devils' fifth-year senior cruised to a five-under finish (67). She holed seven birdies, five of which came on the front nine. She also had the second most birdies in the tournament with 12.
Alexandra Forsterling was solid today, going on a 14-hole stretch in which she was 1-under par. She carded a 74, matching her round from Friday, and added two birdies. She knocked in a huge birdie on the par-five 15th that would give the Sun Devils a bried one-stroke lead.
Alessandra Fanali had a solid stretch on Sunday, a pivotal piece in the Sun Devils' efforts toward another title. She carded three birdies in seven holes, but stumbled to a two-over par (74) finish when she bogeyed the final three holes.
Amanda Linner, competing as an individual this weekend, was rock-solid all tournament. After a one-over finish on Friday, Linner answered with consecutive rounds of under-par. On Sunday, she worked herself into the top-five, after her third straight round of hitting at least four birdies. Linner, who netted an eighth-place finish, made the top-10 for the third time this season.
After beginning her round with a double-bogey, Ashley Menne collected herself and bounced back with a birdie. She ripped off four more birdies the rest of the way, rounding out at one-over (73) on the round.
Breyana Matthews shaved seven strokes from yesterday to finish at 8-over par today. The freshman Matthews began her round three-over, using this weekend as a solid test against some of the country's top golfers and programs.
The Sun Devils are back in action April 5 in the Silverado Showdown in Silicon Valley, California.