Despite national title, ASU women’s golf ‘has own story to write’
TEMPE, Ariz. — The ASU women’s golf team left nothing on the greens last season as it carried the NCAA national championship trophy off the course. But along with success comes expectation.
Coach Missy Farr-Kaye is focused on keeping her team focused on its goals.
“Let’s bring us back to the present and what we want to accomplish this year,” Farr-Kaye said. “It’s important to me to do that without added pressure and added expectations on ourselves.”
The Sun Devils are off to a strong start. In its first event of the season, ASU finished third among 15 teams in the Mason Rudolph Championship in Franklin, Tenn., losing to two nationally ranked teams in No. 3 Alabama and No. 8 Arkansas.
The Sun Devils, who started the season ranked fourth, return all but one player from the championship team, but those spikes are hard to fill. All-American and individual national champion Monica Vaughn graduated in May.
“Definitely losing Monica is a big loss,” senior Roberta Liti said. “But we need to focus on what’s coming next. I think we can do it again.”
Before the Sun Devils entirely move forward, a true celebration is in order. Vaughn will join the team in another championship celebration next week.
“We don’t take much time off during the summers. We haven’t really celebrated yet,” Farr-Kaye said. “Our celebration is next week.”
Celebrating the NCAA national championship, two first-team All-Americans in Vaughn and Linnea Strom, honorable mention All-American Olivia Mehaffey, and Pac-12 Coach of the Year Farr-Kaye is essential.
“The whole summer I felt like I was on cloud nine, but we have work to do,” Farr-Kaye said.
Each player returned home for summer break, but none took a break from golf. Strom played in six tournaments while on “break.” With the LPGA Tour in her sights after college golf, Strom took little time to rest over the summer.
“I tried to work as much as possible with my coach on my swing technique in Sweden,” the junior said. “I’m a very technical person.”
Instead of feeling pressure from the team’s success in May, Strom feels energized by the experience.
“I personally use it as motivation to work hard,” Strom said. “We all want to win tournaments both as a team and individuals.”
The season opener Friday started a new chapter for a new team. Farr-Kaye wants this team to realize they are just that: new. The ultimate goal is to win another NCAA championship but many small dreams and goals for each player will help them reach the pinnacle they reached last season.
“My goal is that they continue to compete with freedom and not feel the pressure,” Farr-Kaye said. “What we accomplished in one season was amazing, but this team has its own story to write.”
The team heads to Chicago in two weeks to play in the Windy City Collegiate Classic.