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Arizona State’s NCAA Championship was over … until it wasn’t

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Just off the 18th inexperienced Monday night at Grayhawk Golf Club, the tears have been flowing. Arizona State head coach Missy Farr-Kaye had huddled her gamers, dressed head to toe in scorching pink, and instructed them that their season was over.

Or so she thought.

As the Sun Devils ate a late lunch and watched the rest of the tv protection at an out of doors desk simply outdoors of Phil’s Grill, the membership’s restaurant and bar named after the latest PGA champion and well-known Arizona State alum, Farr-Kaye’s cellphone buzzed. It was a nun at St. Xavier Prep, the place Farr-Kaye and present freshman Ashley Menne attended highschool.

“The nuns are in here praying for you right now,” the textual content learn.

That’s when Arizona State’s NCAA Championship hopes began coming again into focus. LSU’s scorching begin started to fade. Wake Forest fell aside down the stretch. Florida State and Arizona have been each hanging on the sting.

Farr-Kaye’s gamers then began teasing their coach that she had jumped the gun, prompting her to say, “Well, I guess the fat lady hasn’t sung yet.”

Farr-Kaye couldn’t clarify it, aside from to chalk it as much as destiny. “Things happen for a reason,” she mentioned.

It’s been an emotional season for the Sun Devils, arguably greater than some other staff within the subject. Sure, the coronavirus pandemic that canceled their fall has been making an attempt, however that’s been nothing in comparison with the information Farr-Kaye broke to her gamers final November, proper earlier than she went into surgical procedure to take away a mass and her appendix.

The 53-year-old, two-time breast-cancer survivor was battling the illness for a 3rd time, this time colon most cancers.

But Farr-Kaye, fueled by adrenaline, fought exhausting, by no means lacking a event spherical regardless of present process chemotherapy. Shortly after her final dose in early April, medical doctors decided her cancer-free. She mentioned she nonetheless battles “chemo fog,” even just lately misplacing her 2017 NCAA Championship ring, and fatigue, however she’s grateful to have crushed most cancers as soon as once more.

“I couldn’t be more blessed right now,” she mentioned.

Her staff has discovered a factor or two from its coach. After incomes a ticket to their hometown NCAA Championship, the Sun Devils bounced again from a sluggish begin and have been good place heading into Monday’s closing spherical. But a abdomen virus that has labored its method via the squad this week, together with Farr-Kaye, lastly caught as much as them.

Fifth-year senior Olivia Mehaffey virtually fainted halfway via her closing spherical and struggled to a 77, which Arizona State needed to depend after Alessandra Fanali shot 78. In whole, the Sun Devils posted an 8-over 296 and have been left on hanging on the perimeters of their seats as play completed up.

Earlier within the day, Auburn had accomplished a exceptional comeback over the ultimate 36 holes, taking pictures 10 beneath on Monday and ending at 18 over, so the Tigers have been shortly in and now will face Oklahoma State in Tuesday’s quarterfinals.

“We knew what we needed to do,” mentioned Auburn head coach Melissa Luellen, whose staff earned the eighth seed on the final NCAA Championship two years in the past earlier than reaching the semifinals. “We had a goal and they just didn’t waiver. … We were like the Kardiac Kids just to get here. This is just some of the greatest golf I’ve ever seen.”

That left Wake Forest, Florida State, LSU and Arizona to battle for the ultimate spots whereas Arizona State might solely watch. The Demon Deacons shot 10 over to drop 5 spots and end 12th. LSU got here up one shot shy of Arizona State. Florida State rallied late just for Alice Hodge to double the ultimate gap, the ninth, and finish up tied with LSU for ninth.

Arizona, after a Yu-Sang Hou closing par, completed tied with its in-state rival for seventh but obtained the eight seed and a matchup with top-seeded Stanford. Ole Miss and Texas will meet in one other quarterfinal whereas the Sun Devils will face Duke.

Farr-Kaye and her gamers had made their approach to the vary to arrange for a playoff after they obtained phrase that that they had survived one other day right here at Grayhawk. There have been extra tears, although this time they have been of the joyous selection.

“I said that was the omen, I had already ended the season,” Farr-Kaye mentioned. “We were done, and I was OK with it…

“I couldn’t be happier to be wrong on that one.”

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