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2021 Men's Golf Season Has Much Success -- with More on the Way

Jun 16, 2021

The 2020-21 season actually had no 2020 in it, when the Pac-12 canceled all fall sports. So Head Coach Matt Thurmond and Associate Head Coach Armen Kirakossian went to work and decided right there and then the spring of 2021 was going to be the busiest five months in the history of Sun Devil men's golf.


It was, as the Sun Devils played 41 rounds of golf in 136 days, starting on Jan. 17 with a win at the inaugural Copper Cup and finishing in a tough NCAA match play semifinal loss to top-ranked Oklahoma on June 1. In between much happened as ASU competed in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Texas, Florida and Georgia.

It also was a wonderful time to show off the Valley for 14 days when Grayhawk hosted the men's and women's championships. We have much to be thankful for, including partnering with the Thunderbirds to put on such an amazing experience. Everything they do is first-class.


We break it down by the numbers here...

1: The win over North Carolina in NCAA match play was ASU's first, as it lost matches in 2009 and 2013.


1: The Sun Devil men brought six golfers to the 30th Amer Ari Intercollegiate in Hawaii in February. One of them was great (again). The other five were really good -- the Sun Devils earned the team title by 12 strokes over USC – but in fact so good that its sixth player (Blake Wagoner) finished second but as an individual, so his score didn't count in the team score. Sophomore David Puig notched his second straight individual title -- he won the Southwestern Invitational Jan. 25-27 -- with a 13-under 203 (67-68-68). It marked the 13th team title in Coach Matt Thurmond's five years at ASU, and the 18th time a Sun Devil had won an individual title in his tenure. Puig became the first Sun Devil to win back-to-back tournaments since Jared du Toit won the Prestige and Amer Ari in February of 2017.


2: The Sun Devils finished second at the Pac-12 Championships and second at the NCAA Regionals in Albuquerque.

3: Chun An Yu, David Puig and Ryggs Johnston each earned All-West Region honors from the GCAA.

3: Sophomore Ryggs Johnston finished third at the 2021 NCAA Championships, just the fifth time a Sun Devil has earned a top three finish since 1997.

Ryggs Johnston (So.), 3rd/2021 (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
Chun An Yu (Jr.), 3rd/2019 (Fayetteville, Ark.)
Jon Rahm (Sr.), T3rd/2016 (Eugene, Ore.)
Jon Rahm (Fr.), T2nd/2013 (Atlanta, Ga.)
Alejandro Canizares (Fr.) 1st/2003 (Stillwater, Okla.)
Darren Angel (Fr.), T3rd/1996 (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
Todd Demsey (So.), 1st/1993 (Lexington, Ky.)
Phil Mickelson (Sr.), 1st/1992 (Albuquerque, N.M.)
Phil Mickelson (So.), 1st/1990 (Tarpon Springs, Fla.)
Phil Mickelson (Fr.), 1st/1989 (Edmond, Okla.)
Jim Carter (Jr.), 1st/1983 (Fresno, Calif.)


3: The Sun Devils tied for third at the NCAA Championship officially by reaching the semifinals of match play. It marked ASU's best finish since its own the 1996 title.

4: The Sun Devil had four All-Americans, and three of them return to the lineup next year.

4: David Puig became the fourth Sun Devil to earn the Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year, joining Cameron Sisk (2019), Jon Rahm (2013) and Alejandro Canizares (2003).

4: Coach Thurmond has now reached the NCAA Championship in all four chances at ASU. Since becoming a head coach in 2002, his squads made the NCAA Championship in 16 of his 19 seasons, missing only in 2016, 2011 and 2007.

6: The Sun Devils have now made the NCAA Finals in the past six seasons, tied for the fifth-best mark in the nation. Texas (14), Illinois (13), Oklahooma (10), Oklahoma State (8) and Vanderbilt (7) are the only schools with longer streaks, and Clemson also has six.

7: This year marked the third straight season with a top-seven ranking.

9 (strokes): Sophomore David Puig, playing in just his fifth collegiate stroke play tournament, easily won the Southwestern Invitational held at North Ranch Country Club in Westlake Village for his first collegiate victory by a tournament record margin. Only two players shot par for the tournament, and Puig (70-66-70) won the event by nine strokes with a 10-under 206 over Pepperdine's Joshua McCarthey (72-73-70). Puig posted a tournament-best 37 pars and added 11 birdies and one eagle.


12.5: The Sun Devils won the first Copper Cup held at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes in January 12.5 to 11.5 in a great event.


14: The Sun Devils came back from 14 shots down on the final day of NCAA Championship stroke play to earn the No. 1 seed, topping Oklahoma State. Before 2009, when Match Play was introduced, the 72 holes of stroke play represented the entire NCAA Championship.


15: Ryggs Johnston (third), Cameron Sisk (eighth) and Chun An Yu (13th) all earned NCAA Top-15 finishes.

21: David Puig finished ranked 19th, Chun An Yu finished 20th and Ryggs Johnston 21st in the final Golfstat rankings.
63: How good was Ryggs Johnston's 7-under 63 in the second round of the NCAA Championships? It is the second-best NCAA Championship round by a Sun Devil, and those sandwiched around him are named Rahm and Mickelson. Only one other player had a 64 (Wake Forest's Parker Gillam) and only one had a 65 (Oklahoma State's Bo Jin).

61/-9, Jon Rahm (May 28, 2013 at Atlanta, GA)
63/-7, Ryggs Johnston (May 29, 2021 at Scottsdale, AZ)
63/-9, Phil Mickelson (June 3, 1992 at Albuquerque, NM)
65/-7, Phil Mickelson (June 4, 1992 at Albuquerque, NM)
66/-4, Phil Mickelson (June 7, 1989 at Edmond, OK)


70.46: That was Chun An Yu's final career scoring average, second only to Jon Rahm's 70.21 in the Golfstat era (1993-94 to present). He posted 103 par or better rounds (second only to Rahm's 117) in his 151 rounds and had 139 of the rounds count (139). His 586 birdies is second only to Rahm's 671 and he also had 16 eagles. His 3.916 scoring average on par-4 holes in 2018-19 is best in school history in Golfstat era.