Sun Devils Finish Fifth at NCAA Championship
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Sun Devil Women's Golf fell to Duke, 3-1-1, in the match play quarterfinals at the NCAA Championships at Grayhawk Golf Club.
Arizona State earned a fifth-place finish by virtue of an exciting NCAA Championship run, making match play for the second time in program history. It is the 18th time the Maroon & Gold have finished in the Top-5 in the premiere event in women's collegiate golf.
"Extremely proud of this team's fight, I couldn't be happier," Head Coach Missy Farr-Kaye remarked. "I don't ever question this group's effort, work ethic, or desire to win and compete. Today the putts did not fall in our direction, that was what happened."
Ashley Menne continued her tremendous performance, winning 2&1 in her matchup with Jaravee Boonchant, coming after a fourth-place finish in stroke play. After play was even through six, Menne took the first lead on seven. She re-took the lead on 10 and jumped two holes ahead on 14, cruising to the finish line by matching her opponent over the final three holes.
"I am so proud of Ashley, she had such a great freshman campaign," Farr-Kaye reflected. "Ashley is one of the top freshmen in the country. She came along fabulously this Spring. She has grown and learned so much as a golfer and human being in the past year and it has been really fun to watch."
The loss puts an end to the legendary career of four-time All-American Olivia Mehaffey, who made an enormous impact on the program. Part of the 2017 National Championship team, Mehaffey will go down as one of the best female collegiate golfers of all-time. She will now begin her professional career this weekend, playing at the Mission Inn Resort and Club Championship in Florida.
"Few have had a bigger impact on our program than Olivia Mehaffey," Missy Farr-Kaye observed. "The type of Sun Devil she has been on the golf course and off the golf course. I made her cry and I made myself cry, but she really is a phenomenal person and phenomenal talent. The ride with her for five years has been amazing and I am very heartbroken that it has come to an end. I told her we are her home in the United States and her family who will always be there for her. And she knows that. We are excited to wish her well and watch her thrive in the next step in her pro career."
"Having Olivia on the team has been amazing. She is so caring and really knows what she is doing. A great leader who I have learned a lot from, not only golf-wise, but also how to handle yourself off the course. She is a great role model and I will definitely be following her through her pro career and rooting her on. I am really excited for her future."
Linn Grant had a great start to her day, winning three of the first four holes. After falling behind by one, she came through with back-to-back birdies on 11 and 12 to go back up one. The drama continued, as Grant's opponent Erica Shepard went back up by one after 17 holes. Grant came up clutch, making par while Shepard bogeyed. The contest was set to go to a playoff on 10, but was cut short when the match was clinched.
The Sun Devils gave Duke a battle, with the match going back and forth all morning. Amanda Linner made a valiant comeback effort, coming back from four and cutting it to a two-hole deficit. Eventually a par by Phoebe Brinker clinched the match for the Blue Devils, advancing them to the semifinals against Oklahoma State.
"A lot of it comes down to timing," Coach Farr-Kaye added. "All the planets and stars have to align to win a National Championship. It just didn't happen for us, but we competed until the very end."
Arizona State's program has a bright future and a ton of momentum, with four of the five members of the NCAA Championship returning next season. The Sun Devils will be one of the contenders for the title once again, led by Head Coach Missy Farr-Kaye.
"We have a really strong returning team," Farr-Kaye mentioned. "This was the first time we got the chance to host this and we now know how it feels. It is really great for us."
HOW TO FOLLOW
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