Earlier this week, head coach of the Arizona State men’s golf team Tim Mickelson knew his young squad faced a tough task going into Monday’s tournament.
Competing against the ninth-ranked field in the nation at The Prestige at PGA West, from Monday through Wednesday, the 54-hole contest found itself to be as hazardous as the Sun Devils anticipated and more, finishing at +18.
With their final score Mickelson’s No. 47 ranked brigade placed 8th at this week’s tournament in Palm Desert, Calif.
After the final round Mickelson said the tournament went how many people expected and he’s not completely satisfied. However, it was yet another lesson for his youthful group.
“We lost to every team ranked ahead of us and beat every team ranked behind us,” he said. “I’m disappointed because we had everything set up on a silver platter with better weather than the other teams but poor performances from a couple of guys and bad shots at the end from another didn’t help. Its another learning experience for our young guys , were going to have growing pains as expected.”
Freshman standout Max Rottluff shot even par, once again led the way for ASU and tied for 7th place individually. It was his third straight finish in the top 10.
“He’s been a machine so far this semester,” Mickelson said. “He’s hitting so many good shots and putting very well. There really are no weaknesses in his game.”
Mickelson said aside from Rottluff and sophomore Austin Quick the rest of the team struggled.
Quick ended at +5, freshman Jon Rahm Rodriguez trailed right behind at +6. Sophomore Mathias Schjoelberg finished with a score of +10 while freshman Alberto Sanchez rounded out the group at +15.
After a tough start to the season, Quick put up his his best overall performance of 2013.
“Felt nice to post three good rounds in a tournament, but still have some minor adjustments I need to make before next weeks tournament,” Quick said. “Our whole team is struggling with consistency, but we know we can contend with the best of the Pac-12.”
Individual entrant for ASU, sophomore Brandon Cloete, struggled shooting +26.
“This was only Brandon’s second tournament,” Mickelson said. “The whole point was to give him experience as to what college golf is about. These were not easy conditions but its all about gaining that experience to help the team later in the season during pressure situations.”
No. 3 Washington certainly didn’t struggle, tying for first with No. 8 USC. The Prestige is Washington’s second straight finish with a share of the lead. The last one coming in Hawaii at the Amer Ari Invitational where they shared the trophy with USC rival No. 6 UCLA.
“Washington is just as good as Cal who is No. 1 in the country, they may even be deeper than them too. I’d give the edge to Washington,” Mickelson said. “USC is really good as well, their guys are solid 1-4.”
Right behind the Huskies and Trojans stood UCLA, who tied for third with No. 39 Texas Tech at +4. Fourteenth ranked Stanford trailed in fifth place at +8 while No. 15 Oklahoma State finished sixth at +12 and No. 13 Texas Christian just edged out ASU at +17.
“It’s one of the best tournaments because of its quality,” Mickelson said.
The Sun Devils pick up their clubs in California again next Monday at the North Ranch Intercollegiate two-day tournament in Westlake Village, Calif.
Live scoring of the tournament can be found at www.golfstat.com
Reach the reporter at email@example.com