The 23rd annual Amer Ari Invitational at Hawaii’s Waikoloa Beach Resort didn’t end exactly the way the Sun Devil men’s golf team had originally hoped.
ASU ended the tournament in tenth place at -1.
But the ASU squad is not discouraged by its performance; in fact, head coach Tim Mickelson said it’s just the opposite.
“We struggled to get off to a good start,” Mickelson said. “But the guys battled back. If anything, it’s a testament to the amount of talent we have on this team. They’re showing a lot of confidence.”
Mickelson said winds picked up at the beginning of Friday’s round, reaching up to 25 mph and a cause for some struggle.
Nine of the spots ahead of ASU in the final standings were filled by teams ranked in the nation’s top 25.
No. 4 ranked UCLA tied for first place with No. 7 Washington at -22. No. 16 TCU placed third followed by No. 8 Georgia Tech, No. 9 USC, No. 2 Texas, No. 13 Stanford, No. 25 Auburn and No. 14 Oklahoma State.
Mickelson said that considering the tournament’s field, he believes it was a successful trip for ASU.
“I’m very comfortable with where we’re at,” Mickelson said.
He added that he expects them to jump up in next week’s Golfweek.com NCAA golf standings about six to seven spots after their most recent showing.
In the individual category, Auburn’s Dominic Bozzelli took the top spot with a score of -11 after starting the final round tied for third.
Mickelson said freshman Max Rottluff was a catalyst for ASU on the Big Island, going -7 on the tournament. Rottluff’s score put him in the top 10 for the second time in a row.
“Max led us out there,” Mickelson said.
Sophomore Mathias Schjoelberg and freshman Jon Rahm Rodriguez both came in at +1 for ASU while freshman Alberto Sanchez finished at +5. Junior Spencer Lawson struggled ending the contest at +17.
“It was very disappointing for (Lawson) and the team,” Mickelson said. “But that’s golf.”
The next tournament for ASU will be in Palm Desert, Calif. The Prestige tournament will be a three-day event from Feb. 18 to Feb. 20. All rounds will be played at the PGA West Greg Norman Course and are set to begin at 7:00 a.m. PT.
“We expect it to be a tough field once again,” Mickelson said.
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