ASU men’s golf shifts lineup for Alister MacKenzie Invitational

Following a fifth-place finish in the Pac-12 preview, the ASU men’s golf team discovered just how good the top of its lineup can be.

Freshman Jon Rahm Rodriquez tallied a score of 10-under in the Pac-12 Preview and fellow freshman Alberto Sanchez was four-under-par. Where Rahm Rodriquez really shined was on the Par-5s with a 4.13 stroke average on those holes.

But what held the Sun Devils back from finishing even higher was the play from the back end of the starting rotation.

“At the bottom of the lineup there’s still some work to be done,” ASU coach Tim Mickelson said. “We’re not as strong at the bottom of the lineup as we’d like to be. We got to keep working on that.”

Mickelson has shown in the past that he’s not afraid to make changes to the lineup if one is struggling.

The lineup will again change when ASU travels to Fairfax, Calif. for the 16-team Alister MacKenzie Invitational on Oct. 15 and 16, hosted by No. 1 California.

The Sun Devils will replace junior Spencer Lawson with freshman Max Rottluff, meaning the entire starting lineup will consist of freshmen and sophomores.

Rottluff was in Turkey for the World Amateurs during the Pac-12 Preview, so he may have been inserted in the starting lineup even if Lawson hadn’t struggled at the Pac-12 Preview.

The change is that he replaces Lawson instead of sophomore Austin Quick, who played as the No. 5 golfer in the Pac-12 Preview.

Still, Mickelson believes his program is geared in the right direction after their fifth-place finish.

“The Pac-12 is the best golf conference in the country,” Mickelson said. “To be able to finish fifth — or tied for fifth — is certainly an improvement from last year, and certainly we still have some room to go, but we’re headed in the right direction.”

Reach the reporter at justin.janssen@asu.edu