Arizona State’s men’s golf travelled to Sugar Grove, Ill., this past weekend to partake in the 2017 NCAA Men's National Championship. The team went into the tournament ranked No. 23 in the country on the heels of yet another impressive season behind the leadership of senior Jared Du Toit and first-year head coach Matt Thurmond.
The Sun Devils began stroke play on Friday with the following lineup:
(1) Jared Du Toit, (2) Chun An Yu, (3) Alex Del Ray Gonzalez, (4) Blake Wagoner, (5) Jino Sohn
Yu led the team in the first round, posting an impressive 69 (-3) behind an eagle on the 18th, a personal score that only 16 out of the 150 other players in the whole tournament could match or top. The Sun Devils finished the first round at 290 (+2), good for 15th place at the time.
Du Toit and Gonzalez both finished the first round at 73 (+1), while Wagoner and Sohn shot 75 (+3) and 76 (+4), respectively.
Day two of stroke play came with some struggles for the Sun Devils as they dropped from 15th place to 21st place after posting a 293 (+5) moving their total from the first two rounds to 583 (+7).
This time Du Toit and Gonzalez led the effort as they both shot par for the round at 72, while Yu was right behind them shooting a 73 (+1) moving him to two-under overall for the weekend.
Sohn shot another 76, but Blake Wagoner ran into some issues on the links as he posted an 86 (+14) for the second round after racking up eight bogeys, two doubles and one triple bogey on the first hole. Fortunately for them, teams are able to drop their worst score, so it didn’t prove too costly. Second round struggles would, however, prove costly for the Sun Devils when it was all said and done.
The third round of stroke play was by far the best for the Sun Devils as both Gonzalez and Wagoner were at par or better at 70 (-2) and 72 (E), respectively. Yu posted another 73 (+1) and Sohn was right behind him at 74 (+2). The surprise of day three was senior Jared Du Toit. Du Toit started his round on the back nine where he shot a solid one-over par, but he struggled on the front nine as he was four-over behind two bogeys and a double on the par-3 fifth.
The Devils’ official third round score was 289 (+1) moving their overall total to 872 (+8) for the weekend. Unfortunately, they missed the cut by one stroke and finished 16th after three rounds of play.
While the run as a whole was nothing to be ashamed of, it is unfortunate that Du Toit’s college career had to come to an end following a round he’ll likely want back.
The field has now been cut down to just eight teams who compete in match-play today with the matchups being as follows:
#1 Vanderbilt vs. #8 UNLV
#2 Oklahoma vs. #7 Baylor
#3 Illinois vs. #6 USC (Southern Cal.)
#4 Oklahoma State vs. #5 Oregon
You can follow the action here or tune in live on the Golf Channel.
Following ASU’s departure from the tournament, freshmen Chun An Yu and Alex Del Ray Gonzalez competed in the individual tournament because they were two of the top-ten individuals on teams that didn’t make the cut.
Yu would finish T-19 in the individual competition after shooting a 73 (+1) in the fourth round. Gonzalez struggled a bit in the fourth round posting a 78, his worst round of the entire weekend earning him a T-39 finish.
For a team behind a first-year coach that took three freshmen, one sophomore and one senior to the NCAA Championships, the results can hardly be viewed as a disappointment.
It was a great year for the entire Sun Devil golf program as the lady Sun Devils won the team national championship and Monica Vaughn won the individual National Championship.
Moving forward the ASU men’s golf program has a lot to be excited about as they continue to search for their first national title since 1996.