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ASU Golf: Devils advance to match play after playoff thriller over Stanford

ASU will face North Carolina

Syndication: Arizona Republic Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Seventy-two holes wasn’t enough for the Sun Devils and Stanford Cardinal to decide who would advance. Both teams were tied for the eighth spot at 12-over through 72, and it took a decisive 13-foot putt from Preston Summerhays to propel the Devils over the pesky Cardinal.

The playoff was formatted as a five-player, five-hole match play on holes 14 through 18 with the lowest cumulative score earning the final spot. It took 10 playoff holes before a winner was decided as both teams remained knotted at 19 after the first five.

Arizona State dropped a stroke for the first time in the 2023 NCAA Championships. The Devils had improved after each round prior, however, they were able to outlast Stanford with resiliency and grit.

ASU Coach Matt Thurmond said he was making rounds during the second playoff when he found himself facing a livestream screen on 15 of the action on 18. He couldn’t turn away as Summerhays settled in his stance to put. He immediately embraced Luke Potter with cheers after the two watched the ball find of bottom of the cup. It was finally over.

While it was Summerhays who played hero, it was Ryggs Johnston who led the team with five birdies. He closed the final round of stroke play at 2-under 68, while also coming up big in playoffs.

Summerhays sunk three birdies during stroke play and collected two bogeys. He capped off the fourth round with a 1-under 69.

Luke Potter, Michael Mjaaseth and Josele Ballester each carded 2-over 72 on the day, but all three made big-time shots when deciding the eighth seed.

Potter found both of his birdies on holes four and five.

Mjaaseth started 2-under through two, but failed to yield another birdie over the next 16 holes.

Ballester connected on four birdies during his round, but were nullified by a pair of double-bogeys. He kept composure during the first five playoff holes, carding a birdie on the par-3 16th hole.

Arizona State will tee off top-seeded North Carolina at 7:10 a.m. in the first series of match play.

Thurmond said that he is confident in his boys for match play, and assured them that NC was rooting for Stanford during the playoffs.

Summerhays said that the team’s best golf is still ahead of them as they start the second phase of the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships.