Olivia Mehaffey fired a school-record 10-under par round of 62 as the Sun Devil Women’s Golf team shot a tournament-best 277 to come back from six strokes down after the second round to win the Clover Cup by three over Arizona.
ASU shot 16-under 848 (288-283-277) to top second-round leader Arizona (281-284-286=851), with Mehaffey’s historic round sparking the late charge.
OLIVIA MEHAFFEY IS SO GOOD AT GOLF. pic.twitter.com/iCE48fjsyz
— Madison Kerley (@madisondion) March 14, 2021
“Wow, what a day,” Head Coach Missy Farr-Kaye exclaimed. “That was really amazing to watch. I am so proud of this team and their fight. We had a great duel out there against U of A. To walk away with a W over University of Arizona, we are always proud of that.”
Mehaffey would’ve been disappointed after shooting 75-71 in her first two rounds before it all just clicked on day three. Already one of the most decorated golfers in program history, Mehaffey added another accolade to her impressive resume with her record 10-under tally, proof that a multitude of changes she’s undertaken over the past few months with new coach Jorge Paradas is paying dividends. Not only did she break the program record, she beat it by two strokes, with 64’s previously carded by Monica Vaughn at the 2017 PING/ASU Invitational and Louise Stahle at the 2005 Wildcat Invitational.
“It feels incredible, it’s very special to be part of this amazing program,” Mehaffey said in reference to breaking the record. “Part of the reason I came to ASU was because of our legacy so to break a record is a cool thing to do with so many incredible alumni.”
She found herself tied with her teammate Linn Grant for the overall lead as Grant headed to 18, with Mehaffey observing adjacent to the green. With ice in her veins, Grant calmly sunk a short birdie putt after a perfect set up with a chip, claiming the tournament title. One of the first to embrace her following the round was Mehaffey, as competitors quickly turned to friends.
“Olivia’s 62 is a program record and she has been working so hard,” Coach Farr-Kaye remarked. “To see her break through like that today was such a joy.”
It was also an upturn in fortunes for Olivia who had been disappointed with her form so far this year: “I haven’t felt I have been able to contribute as much as I would have liked to this team,” Mehaffey added. “So to help the team sneak a win today is great. Very happy we managed to get it done today.”
Linn Grant continued to add to her incredible collegiate resume, having now won the individual championship at five different events in her brief career. Dating back to a victory at the Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational last season, Grant has won or shared individual medalist honors at five consecutive events, accomplishing an incredible feat. She shot 69 each day to finish at 9-under 207.
Four of those events had ten or more teams, which puts her in elite company in program history. Grant’s run of three straight individual titles entering the Clover Cup was the first since Sun Devil Athletics Hall of Famer Wendy Ward’s historic 1995 run, when she claimed the PING/ASU Invitational, Pac-10 Conference Championship, and the NCAA West Regional Championship en route to the Sun Devil undefeated season.
“So happy for Linn and her accomplishment in winning and birdieing the last hole to win outright for her fourth in-a-row,” Coach Farr-Kaye reflected.
It was a total team effort that allowed Arizona State to make up ground, as they finished 11-under as a group, four strokes better than anyone else. Three of the Top-5 finishers were Sun Devils and five of the Top-20 donned the Maroon & Gold, as the Sun Devils proved to be the class of the field.
“Everybody contributed to this win,” Coach Farr-Kaye mentioned. “Across the board and top to bottom, just really good stuff. This team is really doing well.”
“It’s a great team, very talented and impressive,” Mehaffey agreed. “Everyone is very supportive and encouraging. That definitely makes the journey very enjoyable.”
Olivia Mehaffey and Ashley Menne return to Longbow Golf Club next weekend (Mar. 18-21) for the Carlisle Open, a Symetra Tour event. Both individuals received sponsor’s invites to compete in the professional event, testing their skills for at least another 54 holes. The next tournament for Arizona State is the third and final regular season event that the Maroon & Gold will host. The annual PING/ASU Invitational will take place Mar. 26-28 at Papago Golf Club, the home of Sun Devil Men’s and Women’s Golf, and will once again feature an elite field. Stay tuned for details on the tournament.
“It is a marathon, not a sprint yet,” Coach Farr-Kaye pointed out after the round. “We have a few more tournaments to go before postseason. We are taking it one event at a time and are excited to be hosting at Papago in a week-and-a-half. We are thrilled to be able to do that and looking forward to it.”
Meanwhile, Sophomore Lauren Walsh finished at T14 at the Valspar Augusta Invitational, making her fourth consecutive finish inside the top-15. The Wake Forest star has finished T14 or better in every event this spring, helping the Deacs to fourth place in Georgia on Sunday.
“We didn’t have the finish we would have liked, but we know what needs work and we are fortunate to have a great place on campus to do just that,” said Head Coach, Kim Lewellen. “The girls came in and played hard and we are always proud of the way they represent Wake Forest.”