ASU women's golf gears up for a competitive 2019-20 season

The team faces a tough schedule, but players said they are up for the challenge

It’s been nearly three years since the ASU women’s golf team secured the 2017 NCAA Championship trophy, and the Sun Devils are ready once again to make a fierce statement in the Pac-12 and beyond.

The team heads to Lake Elmo, Minnesota this week to start off their 2019-20 season in what has the potential to be an electric campaign for head coach Missy Farr-Kaye and her group of five international athletes.

Read more: ASU Women's Golf team made up of five athletes from five different countries

Farr-Kaye enters her fifth year as head coach, joined by fourth-year assistant coach Michelle Estill. The team is also supported by newly appointed director of operations Jessie Stone.

Northern Ireland native Olivia Mehaffey returns as a senior this year to lead the squad, joined by sophomore Alessandra Fanali, junior Raquel Olmos, sophomore Alexandra Forsterling and incoming freshman Linn Grant.

“What I love about this team is that in the little time we’ve met and started to practice, I don’t have to suggest (that) our goal should be to win a tournament,” Farr-Kaye said. “This team is gritty, tough and wants to go out and play great.”

The competitive spirit of this year’s Sun Devils is unmistakable. The group offers a wide array of talent, experience and discipline across four separate grade ranges.

The team has earned a top 10 spot in three different collegiate golf preseason polls including a No. 7 ranking on Golf Channel, and a No. 10 slot in polls submitted by both Golfweek and the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA).

“When we won (in 2017), it felt like it was meant to be, and I almost get the same feeling this year,” Mehaffey said. “We know we’re a great team and we know what we are capable of.”

Mehaffey gears up to build off of her impressive 2018-19 season when she earned WGCA All-American honors for the third year in a row.

“I think we have a really good team this year. Everybody is supporting each other and pushing each other,” Forsterling said.

The team endures one of the more difficult schedules in the Pac-12 this year, which Farr-Kaye thinks is a positive and potentially rewarding challenge for her group.

“I don’t think you could find many teams that have a harder schedule than what we have in the fall — but I like that,” Farr-Kaye said. “I’d rather finish third in a really hard tournament than go and have an easy win, because my team is going to get better.”

ASU has the privilege of hosting the NCAA Division I Men’s & Women’s Golf Championships at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale for the next three years — a well-earned honor for both teams with the women’s championship taking place May 22-27.

Not only does the team contain the talent and ambition to capture the trophy, but they gain a significant advantage in being able to host the tournament in their own state.

In January, the Sun Devils will be joined by another incoming freshman, Amanda Linner of Sweden. Linner, a highly accomplished and skilled golfer in her own right, will further add to the firepower that the team possesses.

First on the docket for the Sun Devils is the ANIKKA Intercollegiate Tournament presented by 3M, which begins Monday, Sept. 16. The team will face many highly touted programs including reigning NCAA champions Duke University, Wake Forest and consensus preseason No. 1 USC.

They will then compete in Illinois, California and Hawaii in various tournaments throughout the course of the fall season.

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