ASU men's golf clinches Territorial Cup Series victory over UA
The Pac-12 Men's and Women's Golf Championships have come to an end, with both ASU teams playing well but finishing in the middle of the pack.
This is not usually cause for a lot of celebration, but the men's team 16-stroke lead over UA clinched the Territorial Cup Series for ASU, which now leads 10.5-6.5.
The Territorial Cup Series, which pits ASU and UA athletics against each other during the entire year, had been won by UA in its first three years but a dispute between the two schools about men's track and field being included left last year's result muddled. UA had clinched it with 9.5 points, but ASU argued that men's track and field should be included. If that were the case, ASU would have tied it at 9.5 and won the tie breaker with a higher finish in the Director's Cup standings.
The final round of the Pac-12 Men's Golf Championship was a strong one for ASU, but they could not pull ahead in the standings and have to settle for sixth.
Coach Tim Mickelson said his team was looking good at the start of the day but finishing the rounds continued to be a problem.
"We got off to a great start today in the final round," Mickelson said. "But, unfortunately, today was a lot more of the same. We had to count three double bogeys in those holes today which destroyed any chance for us to finish in fourth or fifth place. The wind definitely played a factor in our last six holes today but it was not as windy today as it was yesterday."
Junior Austin Quick, even at 72 in the fourth round, led the Sun Devils in scoring for the tournament while sophomore Jon Rahm (even at 72) and freshman Blake Cannon (even at 72) had their best performances in the final round. Sophomore Max Rottluff shot 3-over for 75 while junior Broc Johnson and freshman Nicolo Galletti shot 2-over for 74.
The men's team was marred by bad weather conditions and inconsistent play throughout the weekend. Heavy rains and high winds caused the Sun Devils to be unable to find any momentum, but they still managed to put together two very solid rounds on the second and final round.
Despite the sixth place finish, Mickelson takes pride in bringing the Territorial Cup to ASU.
"There’s always consolation in beating Arizona," Mickelson said. "It feels very good earning our Territorial Cup and feels even better being the team to secure the Territorial Cup series for ASU and all ASU fans."
The women's team finished in fifth place in the Pac-12 Women's Golf Championship after they could not repeat its team score of 291 in the first round and scored 296 in the final two.
The Sun Devils got their best performance of the day from freshman Monica Vaughn, who shot 1-under for 71. Vaughn also had the best individual score for the Sun Devils in the first round when she shot 2-under.
Coach Melissa Luellen liked what she saw from the freshman, especially on the final round.
"(Vaughn had a) very solid finish," Luellen said. "She chose to be very positive this tournament, and she stayed very patient and was rewarded with two birdies in the last three holes."
Other third round contributions from the Sun Devils include juniors Noemi Jimenez (1-over at 73) who led the Sun Devils in total scoring for the tournament, and Emilie Alonso (1-over at 73). Seniors Justine Lee and Laura Blanco both shot 7-over par on the final day for a score of 79. Jimenez and Vaughn both finished in the top five of individual scoring for the tournament.
Even though the finish wasn't ideal, Luellen said her team showed a lot of fight to break into the top five.
"We did not reach our goal but had a solid finish," Luellen said. "We were happy to move into the top five. The course got tougher as the week went on due to tough hole locations, quick greens and elements. I think it was a good test."
As for the winners of the Pac-12 tournaments, it was a Stanford sweep as the Cardinal finished first in both the men's and women's competitions. Stanford junior Patrick Rodgers also had the best individual score of the men's tournament while UCLA freshman Alison Lee earns the individual title for the women's.
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