Sophomore Jon Rahm (5-under 135) led all ASU men’s golfers as the Sun Devils had a double dose of golf at the Redhawk Invitational in Seattle. The University of San Diego and UCLA are tied for the lead, with 4-under scores of 556.
San Diego junior Grant Forrest leads all golfers with a 12-under score of 128. Rahm, who is seven strokes behind, is in second place for the individual top score.
Competing for the Sun Devils is junior Austin Quick (2-under 138), freshman Blake Cannon (1-over 141), junior Broc Johnson (7-over 147) and sophomore Max Rottluff (9-over 149).
It was a bit of a slow start for ASU as it posted a first round score of 282, which was tied for sixth place. In the second round, the Sun Devils bounced back and shot 279, one of only four teams to finish a round with a score under 280.
Coach Tim Mickelson was pleased with his team’s play on a busy day at Seattle.
“I thought it was a pretty good day, I’m slightly disappointed that we are not leading or are down by less,” Mickelson said. “We are still in a position where if we play well we can win the tournament.”
This was the first time this season ASU has had to play 36 holes in one day, and Mickelson said the physical anguish can lead to struggles on the course.
“From a physical and mental standpoint, it takes so much energy to be on the golf course that long and stay involved to play two rounds in a row well,” Mickelson said. “This is one of the most difficult courses to walk, there are many hills and there are long walks between holes. The guys are so tired, which is why they shot a couple double bogeys.”
Although the Sun Devils shot 35 birdies collectively, they were plagued by bogeys throughout the day. 31 bogeys and six double bogeys were given up by ASU, including a disastrous hole for Rottluff as he sank a par 4 in the first round on eight tries.
Weather was also a factor, as it often is in Seattle. Mickelson said he counts his blessings that he gets to play in Tempe.
“These are some of the worst greens I’ve seen at a division one golf tournament, and it’s because of the weather that went through here,” Mickelson said. “We are fortunate to play in Arizona where the greens are perfect.”
Mickelson also said the rain causes putting to be very difficult, and that putts from as short as three feet can be problematic. For the final round, Mickelson wants his team to be patient and not get frustrated over missed putts.
Despite the occasional struggles, Rahm and Quick are two of only five golfers to post sub-70 scores on each round of the day. Both are currently in the top five of individual scores, with Quick sharing the fifth spot with five other golfers.
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