ASU women's golf takes top prize at 2017 PING/ASU Invitational

The Sun Devils earned their first home win in 10 years thanks in part to an individual title from junior Roberta Liti

No. 5 ASU women’s golf cruised to victory at home on Sunday during the 2017 PING/ASU Invitational at Karsten Golf Course in Tempe.

The Sun Devils shot 25-under par overall for the team competition to earn their first home win in 10 years. In-state rival Arizona finished second — 20 strokes behind ASU — while Washington finished third. 

“I'm so happy for this team because it all came together and they just played beautifully today,” ASU head coach Missy Farr-Kaye said. “I keep telling them that when we get everyone together playing well at the same time, we’re going to do great things.”

Individually, junior Roberta Liti claimed first place for her first-ever collegiate win with an overall score of 10-under par. It was the lowest three-round score of her career, and it didn't come easy, according to Liti. 

“I still can’t believe it,” she said. “I honestly could’ve never imagined that I would’ve won this at the beginning of the week. I have been struggling a lot the past couple years … this was very unexpected but it feels great.”

Liti dedicated the win to her mother, who she said has supported her throughout her collegiate golfing career. 

“I feel blessed to have such a great family that supports me every day and, even if they are far away, they support me through good and bad,” Liti said. “It means a lot when you go out there and you know that your family supports you, that’s all that matters really.” 

Senior Monica Vaughn placed right behind Liti in second with a final score of 9-under par, giving the Sun Devils both of the top two individual finishes in the event. 

Vaughn said entering the final day of the PING/ASU Invitational, she had one goal in mind: winning the team competition.  

“The biggest goal that I had today — something that I told the team before we all teed off today — was that today we play for the team and not for ourselves,” Vaughn said. “I think all of the girls took that to heart what I told them today.”

Vaughn and Liti went back-and-forth on the scoreboard in the final day of action in Tempe, with the battle culminating on hole 18.

For Vaughn, it marked her last time playing at Karsten Golf Course, and down the stretch on the final day, emotions ran high. The senior eventually bowed out to her younger teammate, and she'd never been happier after a defeat.

"I was obviously very nervous and of course I wanted to win, but I told myself today, 'If (Roberta) beats me today, I will be so happy for her’ and I completely am,'" Vaughn said. “I’m just ecstatic.” 

It's an attitude Farr-Faye said embodies Vaughn's career at ASU

"Monica Vaughn has been a great Sun Devil for us and a great person and I’m really going to be sad when I don’t get to coach her anymore," Farr-Kaye said.

Entering the final day of the invitational, ASU held just a three-stroke lead over Arizona, but a strong third day from the Sun Devils overwhelmed the Wildcats to earn the top spot in the team standings.  ASU shot 15-under par as a team on Sunday.

During the same event last year at home, the Sun Devils took second place, falling short to UCLA. This year, however, ASU never relinquished the top shot throughout the weekend tournament.

The win was the final competition of the regular season for the Sun Devils. They now have over two weeks to prepare for the Pac-12 Championships, held April 24-26 at Sewailo Golf Club - Casino Del Sol in Tucson.


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

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