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No Slowing Down: Farr-Kaye Thriving Through Adversity

Sep 13, 2021

Sun Devil Women's Golf begins the Road to Grayhawk
 
In a recent Zoom conference with members of Arizona State University media, Head Coach Missy Farr-Kaye provided a health update and preview for the 2021-22 season.
 
After being diagnosed with colon cancer in November last year, Farr-Kaye finished her chemotherapy in April and is feeling "really good."
 
Farr-Kaye's chemo schedule included a week of treatment and then an off week where she traveled for recruiting and competition, but now her stamina has returned. Working seven days a week and traveling throughout year round can be exhausting for even the healthiest, but Farr-Kaye said she's right "back in it."
 
"I noticed a lot in recruiting last week that I can make it a 20,000 step day and 36 holes, which I could not have done in May," Farr-Kaye said. "I'm going to do everything I normally want to do, and I don't feel hindered in any way."
 
The sixth-year coach said she "survived" with the help of the team and staff around her. "I certainly did not do it alone, and everybody filled in when I couldn't, so it's really nice to feel more like me and to be able to handle all of my regular duties," Farr-Kaye said.
 
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Feeling rejuvenated and excited for the first fall tournament in two years, Farr-Kaye's Sun Devils are at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate Tournament at the Royal Golf Club in Minnesota.
 
Scheduled for September 13-15, 2021, the 54-hole stroke play event hosts 12 of the best teams in Division I women's golf teams across the country. "Nobody says no to ANNIKA," said Farr-Kaye. "We have the same goals every year, and that is to win and play well and be top five in the country."
 
In order to accomplish this goal, the Sun Devils work hard to stay relaxed and loose to prevent putting too much pressure on themselves to perform well. The team and coaches all know the goals and expectations, so they don't speak or dwell on them daily.
 
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The team is also gearing up for Hawaii in November for the Pac-12 Preview, and a new event they've never played in before with the men's team. The Barbara Nicklaus Cup in October at Muirfield Village in Ohio is scheduled for October. The Sun Devils don't have all the details yet, but Farr-Kaye believes there will be a unique opportunity for a mixed match with the men's and women's teams.
 
"That's a golf course that would be on anyone's bucket list to get to play, so we are traveling with our men's team for the first time," said Farr-Kaye. "It's going to be a lot of fun coaching with the men's coaches and spending that amount of time with our men's team, which we never do."
 
The NCAA Golf Championship will be hosted at Grayhawk Golf Club for the second time in the three-year run. If Farr-Kaye's Sun Devils have the opportunity to make it back to the Championship, she is looking forward to setting a gold standard for fans and spectators with Grayhawk.
 
"There's a couple things we want to tweak, but the golf course was spectacular, the food was spectacular," Farr-Kaye said. "I've heard a lot of really good feedback from a lot of coaches and that it felt like a championship and that was the goal all along."
 
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic stifled the amount of fans allowed at the Championship, Farr-Kaye wants everyone to come out and watch the future professionals from the men's and women's championships.
 
The preseason poll by the WGCA ranked the Sun Devils No. 8 in the nation, and Farr-Kaye believes they are "where we belong." However, the preseason rankings aren't as important to the team as the final rankings at the end of the season.
 
"I think we're going to be solid week in and week out, and I think we're going to have an opportunity to have some of the players step up and flourish in this environment," said Farr-Kaye. "So, you know the goal is to have them really stick together and be a really close unit and help each other and push each other all year long."
 
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Sun Devil alum Olivia Mehaffey is now a professional golfer competing in her first LPGA event this week. Since her graduation, Mehaffey left behind a role that "no one can fill." However, coach Farr-Kaye does not think this will hurt her team.
 
"This teams going to be a little different and I think that it's really going to give that opportunity for players to rise and to shine," said Farr-Kaye. "It's their team and I think it'll change every week depending on who's playing well, depending on the golf course, and how to switch their game."
 
Alessandra Fanali and Alexandra Forsterling will start their senior seasons together. Fanali secured three Top-10 finishes that included two Top-5 finishes last season. Forsterling also earned three Top-10 finishes in 2021 and won the 2021 German Girls Amateur Title.
 
Farr-Kaye explained that Fanali suffered a back injury at the end of last season, but "she's ready to go," and Forsterling played a "fantastic summer" and "building on that confidence to beat the best players in the world." The coaching staff is excited to see the journey of the three-year roommates during their senior year.
 
This year marks the first college season for freshman Calynne Rosholt. The young Sun Devil was one of the must-gets in her recruiting class, but she chose to stay in Arizona. Even though upperclassmen have an advantage from playing many of the courses before, Farr-Kaye is not worried about Rosholt.
 
"Calynne is a gamer, she's tough, she's mentally tough, and that young lady is going to fight to the finish, and that's one of the reasons I recruited her, so it's going to be fun to watch her," Farr-Kaye said.
 
Rosholt is the daughter of Farr-Kaye's former teammate Lynne (Mikulas) Rosholt. Farr-Kaye knew Rosholt when she was a baby, and her dream was to golf for the Sun Devils. When Rosholt's family would tell Farr-Kaye that Rosholt was going to be a great golfer, she thought "that's very sweet." Now, Farr-Kaye is excited to coach Rosholt and help her with course management as the season begins.
 
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Sophomore Ashley Menne is coming off a great freshman season where she finished fourth at the NCAA Championships. Now, Menne is coming into a new season where she's learned new ways to manage the courses, work on her strength, and increase her conditioning according to Farr-Kaye. Menne can see how far she's come, and no one underestimates her now. Farr-Kaye is working with her to fight her biggest enemy: putting pressure on herself. The coaching staff are excited to see her focus on the present and executing.
 
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Amanda Linner begins her junior season with the opportunity to play her first full year as a Sun Devil. Since arriving at ASU from Sweden in January of 2020, Linner has four Top-10 finishes. She's in the group of college athletes that doesn't have the same experience as the prior classes.
 
"There's nobody that works harder than Amanda Linner and nobody that wants it more. So, continuing to work with her and coach her and teach her certain things that can help her," said Farr-Kaye. "She's got an amazing support staff in Sweden so we build on that and continue to see what she can do."
 
With all the talented Sun Devils ready for the season, there is no shortage of depth in this roster. The lineup could change every week according to Farr-Kaye. She believes any one of her golfers could win this season. If they can all play well each tournament and not care about the number in front of their names on the lineup, Farr-Kaye thinks it's a good problem for any coaching staff.
 
"Once they really don't care where they play in the lineup, and they just go and play really well, then that's kind of like the secret sauce when you get to that point," Farr-Kaye said.