Missy Farr-Kaye knew what it takes for a college golf program to win a national title. As a standout collegiate player, she was on the Arizona State team that claimed an NCAA championship in 1990, and then helped bring ASU another title in 2009 as an assistant coach.
Now she knows what it’s like to actually lead a program to a national championship.
Not bad for someone who not long ago took the reins of the storied Sun Devil women’s golf program. Farr-Kaye, who went to high school at Xavier Prep in Phoenix, was hired just a month short of two years ago, taking over a program that was a dominant force on the national stage during the 1990s. From 1990 to 1998, ASU collected six national team titles.
And now they have their second in a new century, winning the seventh in 2009 and now adding the eighth. That’s more than any other women’s program in NCAA history.
This may have been the toughest one to get. ASU had to rally from being down 2-1 to Stanford in the semifinals and pull out the 3-2 win that matched them up with Northwestern in the final. And they played through rain delays and a day called early due to darkness. That meant getting up at 4:30 a.m. to meet each day’s challenge.
Not only did the Devils win the team title, but also brought home both the regional and NCAA individual titles, thanks to senior Monica Vaughn (pictured above). And that’s something you don’t see too often; it was just the 12th time in NCAA history that the individual medalist was also a member of the team that went on to win the title.
She becomes the sixth all-time individual NCAA national champion in ASU history, which means the Pac-12 school can now boast the most individual champions in women’s golf.
Vaughn, who finished last season ranked No. 14 in the nation after six top-10 finishes in seven tournaments, was one of the biggest reasons this year’s squad had been picked as a pre-season favorite. This season she set a new program record for low round vs. par, an 8-under at the PING/ASU Invitational in April.
“To be an individual winner and to win as a team is just incredible,” she said, admitting she played her best golf on the last day, on the last round. “The team win, for me, is a really special thing, more special than my individual win.”
Vaughn has already graduated, but she will be the only one from this year’s championship team who will be missing next year. It looks like her spot will be filled by a recruit from Spain, Raquel Olmos Ros, a member of the Spanish National Team who is ranked No. 1 nationally among U17s and No. 4 among U18s.
Looks like the ASU women’s golf program will have a target on its back again next year.
(Photo: ASU Athletics)