The ASU men’s golf team is headed to the Big Island for big competion.
The Sun Devils will participate in the 23rd annual Amer Ari Invitational from Wednesday, Feb. 6 to Friday, Feb. 8 at Hawaii’s Waikoloa Beach Resort.
The three-day tournament features a 20-team field with eight of the teams from the Pac-12.
The field also features nine ranked opponents that include: No. 24 Auburn, No. 10 Georgia Tech, No. 14 Oklahoma State, No. 15 Stanford, No. 16 TCU, No. 7 UCLA, No. 8 USC, No. 2 Texas and No. 6 Washington.
The contest consists of three 18-hole rounds beginning each morning at 7:30 a.m. PT.
ASU coach Tim Mickelson said the contest is one of the toughest in the nation from a talent standpoint.
“Finishing the top eight would be good because the field is so strong,” Mickelson said.
Mickelson said the talent pool isn’t the only challenge his team will be going up against throughout the tournament.
The wind speeds have really picked up during the week. Mickelson added that his team is feeling very confident in its game despite the weather.
Five players will represent the maroon and gold at the tournament. Junior Spencer Lawson and sophomore Mathias Schjoelberg will be joined by three freshmen, Jon Rahm Rodriguez, Max Rottluff and Alberto Sanchez.
Sanchez doesn’t expect the weather to be much of an issue for him and his teammates.
He thinks his team is really starting to adjust to competition at the collegiate level just in time for one of the best college events out there.
“Confidence is going around the team right now,” Sanchez said. “We’re young, but we have a lot of talent. As long as we play smart golf and don’t make many mistakes, we should contend.”
He said the team is also looking for a bit of revenge this week against TCU.
The Horned Frogs went into the final round of last week’s tourney sharing the lead with ASU. The Sun Devils were left with a bad taste in their mouth after placing behind TCU in the tournament.
“There’s a little rivalry there,” Sanchez said. “We want that revenge, but we will continue to play our own game and go from there.”
After its fourth place finish last week in Tucson last week, ASU climbed the rankings higher than Mickelson or any of his players expected. They went from being No. 72 in the Golfweek.com rankings to No. 58 in the nation.
“It was a bigger jump than I was expecting,” Mickelson said. “It’s really important that we play well in this tournament. If we keep playing well, then we will keep moving up the standings.”
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