ASU golf teams set to welcome new international recruits in 2020

Freshmen David Puig and Amanda Linner will provide an additional boost to the Sun Devil lineups

The ASU men’s and women’s golf teams are set to welcome new additions to their lineups in time for the 2020 spring semester.

Both squads enjoyed success in the fall and will now further bolster their talented rosters as the second half of the season begins in January.

The men’s team awaits the debut of freshman David Puig, who will join the program a semester late from La Garriga, Spain.

Puig is one of a few other international players on the roster who will be entering the program in the Spring semester instead of Fall. This was done previously by senior Chun (Kevin) An Yu and sophomore James Leow.  

“(Puig) had a really busy summer and played events all over the world,” associate head coach Armen Kirakossian said. “He needed a few months to be able to get everything wrapped up before he started in January.”

While not incredibly common among international players, the choice to delay competition at the collegiate level can happen and is often influenced by a variety of factors.

In Puig's case, he spent the summer competing abroad in order to begin his ASU career with maximum preparation and minimal stress. 

Kirakossian noted the transition from Europe to Arizona’s desert golf environment can present quite a challenge and is experienced differently by every athlete who goes through the process.

Sophomore Alessandra Fanali of the women’s team entered the program last Spring and said her late start was beneficial following a three-month offseason.

“Starting in January was a really good experience,” Fanali said. “When I came here I was ready to start playing golf and do what I really wanted to do … I was ready to start a new chapter of my life, full of energy.”

Fanali started late because of the Test of English as a Foreign Language and also as a way to deem herself fully prepared for a strong spring run.

Puig is a member of the Spanish National Team and has several championships to his credit, including winning the Copa Nacional Puerta de Hierro tournament in 2017.

He is the 10th addition to the Sun Devil men’s team that earned first place in two out of four fall tournaments this year.

Joining the women’s team in January will be Swedish golfer Amanda Linner, who is a close friend and national teammate of freshman phenom Linn Grant.

Linner will enter the Sun Devil program in opposite fashion to that of Puig, undergoing an early high school graduation in order to compete at the collegiate level.

It is a rarity for international players such as Linner to enter college ahead of time, with eligibility varying among schools and programs overseas.

“It is really unusual (for players) to come early,” head coach Missy Farr-Kaye said. “You’ll see it on other teams across the country here and there, but not a lot. It just depends.”

Additionally, the mindset to move forward in the early stages of a golf career is extremely dependent on the golfers themselves and how they choose to outline their journey.

“It’s truly a case-by-case basis,” Farr-Kaye said. “Everybody is different — everyone has different needs and for right now this is what works for (Linner). But I don’t see it happening again for a while.”

Linner will be the sixth addition to the women’s team roster, allowing for extra strategy in Farr-Kaye’s lineup decisions in wake of upcoming spring tournaments.

Coming off a first place win at the Lindbytvatten Masters tournament in September, Linner’s arrival to ASU will place an exclamation point on a women’s team currently ranked No. 2 in the nation.

The Sun Devil golf programs have been known to thrive with global recruitment, and the additions of Puig and Linner will add to a long list of international players who represent ASU both in past and present.

The men’s and women’s teams will resume play in late January, and both of their new recruits set to be ready to roll by that time.

Farr-Kaye and her team will travel to Gold Canyon to compete in a tri-match against UCLA and the University of Denver on Jan. 26, while head coach Matt Thurmond and the men’s team will start their spring season in Westlake Village, California at the Southwestern Intercollegiate on Jan. 27.

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