Men’s golf regular season ends, filled with ups and downs

ASU men's golf regular season wraps up as the team prepares for the Pac-12 Championship

The 2016-17 regular season has officially wrapped up, and now the ASU men's golf team is going for their 13th conference title in Boulder, Colorado, where the University of Colorado plays host to the 2017 Pac-12 Championships

The ASU men’s golf team has a storied history in the heart of the Valley, with twelve Pac-10/Pac-12 titles, two NCAA team championships and six NCAA individual champions. The program has also produced golfers such as Phil Mickelson and Jon Rahm, to name a few. 

With the championship on the horizon, here is a quick glance at some highlights from the season:

New Coach in Town
In summer 2016, Matt Thurmond was introduced as the next men’s golf head coach. Prior to arriving in Arizona, Thurmond was at the helm of University of Washington’s men’s golf program. This season could be described as a transition since bringing Thurmond to the Valley.

“It’s a constant adjustment. I think any good athlete, coach or businessman is always making adjustments and this was a big adjustment for me coming here,” Thurmond said. “The biggest adjustments for me haven’t been with coaching the players, it’s been more getting to know the landscape and the way things operate around here.” 

Thurmond said his favorite moments from this past season was ASU’s home tournament, the Thunderbird Invitational, where the Sun Devils won in convincing fashion. The win was the first at home since 2015. 

“I think we’ll always remember our home tournament,” Thurmond said. “That was a special time for us, we won by 20 strokes. First time I coached our team at home, that was a special time.” 

Oh Captain My Captain 

Thurmond believes assigning a captain is a huge accomplishment, noting that not every season is equipped with the leadership title.

“I don’t have a captain every year,” Thurmond said. “A captain is earned by somebody who basically I can tell everybody else on the team ‘Be like him.’ Whatever he does, look at him and follow him.”

That individual Thurmond is describing is senior Jared du Toit, a senior from British Columbia, Canada. 

Du Toit is one of ASU’s top golfers, with five top-ten individual finishes since the beginning of the season. Du Toit also got off to a hot start in 2017, taking first overall in the Amer Ari Invitational in Hawaii and The Prestige at PGA West in California. 

“Jared’s a quiet leader, he’s not a speech giver and he’s not setting people straight all the time,” Thurmond said. “One of the themes of our program is ‘always better,’ we always think there’s better and Jared personifies that in every way.” 

Freshman Standouts

Freshman Alejandro Del Rey Gonzalez came to ASU all the way from Madrid, Spain. 

Del Rey Gonzalez said he decided to come to the United States for collegiate golf because he saw how collegiate athletes in Spain did not have time to practice golf and stay on top of their studies at the university level. 

At first, Del Rey Gonzalez said he felt nervous about joining an NCAA Division I golf program, because he heard freshman do not typically get a lot of playing time. However, he found he was able to earn playing time with the Sun Devils. 

This first season for Del Rey Gonzalez has been an impressive one, as the freshman led the way for the Sun Devils at ASU’s last tournament, the Transamerica-World Financial Group (WFG) Western Intercollegiate in Santa Cruz, California. Alejandro finished tied 11th overall with a score of 3-over par, four strokes ahead of senior captain du Toit. 

“I just appreciate the guys,” Thurmond said. “I honestly thought that was going to be a really hard part of this whole transition, but it’s been the easiest. These guys have been great, proud of the team, they’re good guys and it’s been fun to coach them.” 

The men’s golf Pac-12 Championships take place from April 28-30 at Boulder Country Club in Colorado.


Reach the reporter at michael.baron@asu.edu or follow @Michael_Baron96 on Twitter.

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