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Arizona State men’s golf team looks to make mark at home at NCAA Championship

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Arizona State head men’s golf coach Matt Thurmond admits it will have been embarrassing to be internet hosting a celebration after which not get an invitation. So the strain was on when his squad competed within the Albuquerque Regional earlier this month.

ASU is internet hosting the 30-team NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship starting Friday at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale. And sure, the Sun Devils will participate within the festivities, having completed second in that regional behind Texas Tech.

It would be the 56th look within the championship for ASU and the sixteenth within the final 19 years. Only three faculties boast extra appearances: Oklahoma State (73), Texas (66) and USC (58).

ASU was supposed to host the occasion for the primary of three years in 2020 however the coronavirus pandemic resulted within the season being canceled, so this week’s occasion has been within the works for some time.

“For three years all the time and energy that has gone into this tournament. In the back of my mind I’m thinking, ‘Do they realize we have to qualify in regional?’ And it’s never easy. So I couldn’t fully think about the NCAA Championship knowing that,” Thurmond stated earlier than his team headed out for a follow spherical Thursday morning. “When we got through regional last week it was like a huge burden was lifted from me, and I think the players as well. How embarrassing or tough would that be to not be there? And to have that in back of your mind as a fear, it’s nice to have that behind us.”

ASU is ranked No. 10 nationally by each Golfweek and Golfstat. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Florida State maintain down the highest three spots with the Sooners topping each rankings. All three of these groups are within the discipline.

The Sun Devils have performed 11 occasions this spring with these scattered all through six states. That is greater than they normally participate in however because the fall schedule was worn out by the worldwide well being pandemic Thurmond needed his gamers to make up for misplaced time.

It has additionally given his team the prospect to play various kinds of programs in several climates. ASU has additionally performed in opposition to lots of the groups within the discipline this week.

“These guys love playing golf,” Thurmond stated. “The hardest thing for a guy that lives and breathes golf is being told he can’t compete in tournaments. Just giving them as many chances to compete and do what they love to do and not be held back. I mean they were held back and held back in so many ways it just felt good to be able to travel and move around and play tournaments. There were times I was thinking maybe we played too much and it was busy and we were tired. Maybe some we didn’t play our best because they were right on top of another in a place maybe we shouldn’t be, but I think it prepared us well.”

The team registered wins at the Amer Ari Intercollegiate in Hawaii and the Goodwin hosted by Pac-12 foe Stanford. The Pac-12 match was one in every of 4 second-place finishes for ASU. The Sun Devils have been runner-up there to rival Arizona, which failed to advance to the NCAAs.

The ASU quintet will include sophomores David Puig and Ryggs Johnston, junior Cameron Sisk and seniors Chun An Yu and Mason Andersen.

Puig, a local of La Garriga, Spain, tied for eighth individually at the regional with an 8-under 208. He was named Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year this season and looks ahead to his first nationwide championship look.

“There are always nerves, always pressure,” he stated. “It’s at home. It’s really good to have a lot of fans and support but there are nerves too because you want to play good here at home. That’s a positive thing. That means we care about that. We’re excited about playing well this week.”

Yu is available in with expertise underneath strain, having completed third individually at the 2019 nationwide championship held in Fayetteville, Arkansas. That matched the second-highest end by a Sun Devil, the opposite coming from present PGA professional Jon Rahm in 2016.

“It was definitely a confidence booster for sure, you compete out there at the highest level against the best players,” Yu stated of that end. “It definitely helped my confidence a lot. My game is good right now and I’m ready to go.”

Thurmond jokingly stated he wouldn’t thoughts hotter temperatures and wind this week since these are situations during which his team is used to enjoying and he likes the home course benefit.

“There are advantages to hosting,” he stated. “We know the course pretty well. It’s not like we’re playing it every day but we have been up here a lot. We’ll have an energy with local people out here watching. But there’s a pressure that comes with hosting too. It’s not all easy. There’s expectations that we’ll be amazing and do everything perfectly. I think the pressure will maybe offset the home course but as the week goes on I think our advantage will get stronger.”

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