ASU men's golf team hopeful for successful upcoming season

High expectations surround the group entering the 2019-20 season

The 2019-20 ASU men’s golf season kicks off this weekend as head coach Matt Thurmond and his 10-man squad look to build on last year's late-season success.

Thurmond, the reigning Pac-12 Coach of the Year, returns for his fourth season with the Sun Devils and is joined by newly-appointed associate head coach Armen Kirakossian.

Both have placed an emphasis on their confidence, high hopes and positive expectations for the group after they ended the 2018-19 season with four wins in their final five tournaments.

“I’m so excited about this season,” Thurmond said. “We’re functioning at full capacity right now ... If we are the kind of people and players that we know we can be every day, the results will be really good.”

The Sun Devils are led by three seniors whom Thurmond believes are important centerpieces in the team’s immense potential.

Chun "Kevin" An Yu, a Taiwanese-born golfer and 2019 Golfweek First-Team All-American, is revered by his coaches for his magnificent repertoire, positive attitude, and humility that he has displayed both on and off the course in seasons past.

North Carolina-native Blake Wagoner, who has played in almost every event for the Devils throughout his collegiate career, returns this season as an influential asset to the team.

“One of our program philosophies is ‘always better every day’ and (Wagoner) totally embodies that,” Thurmond said. “He has the kind of authority that when he speaks, people listen because he works so hard.”

Completing the power-packed senior trio is Spaniard Alex Del Ray - who, according to Thurmond, displays a confident personality and winner's mindset which plays an important role in the team's success.

Other names of note include sophomore Cameron Sisk, who returns this year looking to build on his impressive debut campaign that earned him the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year award, along with junior Mason Andersen, a Chandler-native and 2019 All-Pac-12 First Team member.

"I’m super excited. It’s going to be a crazy year as far as expectations go and (the talent) we have this year. I don’t think we’ve had a team like this in a very long time," Andersen said. “Everybody on the team is really hungry."

First on the docket this year for ASU is the Maui Jim Invitational (Sept. 13-15) in Scottsdale.

"Being up in Scottsdale is a cool way to start the season - we love it. It’s a good way to go out, compete, and see what everyone’s bringing to the table," Kirakossian said about the team's opening event. 

"It's a great tournament, excellent field and a good way to get started with the year," Andersen added.

Fans, students, and golf enthusiasts alike are highly encouraged to show up and cheer on the Sun Devils, with first tee set to begin on Friday morning.


Reach the reporter at hcroton@asu.edu or follow @thecrote on Twitter. 

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