The ASU women’s golf team returned to Tempe on Thursday to celebrate its historic national championship victory over Northwestern in northern Illinois behind the play of NCAA individual champion Monica Vaughn.
With the title, the Sun Devils claim their eighth NCAA team championship, the most among Division I women’s golf programs.
It’s a return to glory for a program that took six titles in nine years from 1990 to 1998, including a dynastic five in six seasons from ’93 to’98. ASU’s most recent team championship came in 2009.
ASU defeated top-seeded Northwestern on Wednesday in the Wildcats’ backyard.
The Rich Harvest Farms golf course in Sugar Grove, where the championship was decided, is only about 90 miles from the NU campus. Strong play from Vaughn, who took the individual title a day earlier, and a clutch performance by Linnea Strom helped secure the victory.
“This was a grueling championship to win, and it’s taken a lot of time, blood, sweat and tears, and a lot of laughter and fun,” coach Missy Farr-Kaye said at a celebration at the Sun Angel Clubhouse at the ASU Karsten Golf Course.
She added several of her players are also academic all-Americans.
Clutching the NCAA trophy, Farr-Kaye said her golfers showed a lot of poise and grace in front of national television cameras, a new competition format, unseasonably cold weather, early mornings, long days and thousands of cheering Northwestern fans.
Nearly 100 people showed up for the impromptu celebration, including ASU President Michael Crow and former women’s golf coach Linda Vollstedt, whom Farr-Kaye recognized.
“To walk in the steps of Linda Vollstedt is not always easy. Those are big shoes to fill,” Farr-Kaye said in reference to the legendary Sun Devil coach who led her teams to six national golf championships over a 21-year career.
Farr-Kaye, who was hired in 2015, has been a part of ASU NCAA title teams in three settings: as a senior player in 1990; an assistant coach in 2009 and now as head coach.
Crow said he was proud of the team.
“You guys were making shots that were physically impossible,” Crow said. “Tremendous athleticism. Tremendous poise. Everything you did represented the university well.”
Farr-Kaye handed over the trophy to Vice President for University Athletics and Athletics Director Ray Anderson, who will add it to the trophy case in the Ed and Nadine Carson Student-Athlete Center next to Sun Devil Stadium.
Before handing over the heavy prize, she had a caveat for Anderson — to be recognized on field during a fall football game.
“Consider it done,” Anderson said. “How could I possibly say no to a national champion?”
Top photo: Coach Missy Farr-Kaye (right) addresses family, friends and the media as the ASU Women's golf team celebrated their winning the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship, Thursday, May 25, 2017, at the Sun Angel Clubhouse at the ASU Karsten Golf Course. The team defeated Northwestern, the No. 1 seed for the team's eighth national championship. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now
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