Oct. 23, 2012
Jon Rahm Rodriguez keeps getting better and better.
After the Bill Cullum Invitational, however, he is running out of room for improvement, as the freshman became the first Sun Devil men's golfer to win an outright title since Jesper Kennegard in 2010, and first freshman to win since Kennegard also completed the feat in 2008.
Overall as a team, ASU put together their most complete tournament, coming home in second-place.
Rahm Rodriguez shot even par in the first round, but finished the tournament with rounds of seven-under par 65 and five-under par 67 to place him at 12-under par. He had 14 birdies in the last two rounds, including six in the final round. He only recorded two bogeys during that 36-hole span. He finished three shots ahead of Grant Forrest of San Diego.
Rahm Rodgriguez is just the second Sun Devil freshman to win a tournament since Alejandro Canizares won the 2003 NCAA title and just second in the past decade. Prior to Canizares winning the NCAA title and the National Invitational in 2003, freshman Paul Casey won the 1998 USC Southwestern Invitational, the Pac-10 title and the NCAA West Regional. In 2002-03 Canizares had five rounds in the 60s and a low of 68 in his first 26 rounds, also as a freshman. Rahm Rodriguez, just 15 rounds into his first season, has six rounds in the 60s and a low round of 64 as well as two rounds of 65. He has tallied 58 birdies to this point.
As a team the Sun Devils (294-282-283) finished five-under par, nine strokes behind first-place San Diego State, improving their best finish this season by three spots. The squad finished tied for fifth in the Pac-12 Preview. For the first time this season, ASU had two golfers finish in the top ten, as Max Rottluff finished tied for eighth.
Rottluff, also a freshman, finished three-under par. He improved his score by one stroke every round, as he shot a 72, 71, and 70 respectively. The third freshman on the Arizona State team, Alberto Sanchez (76-70-73), also had an impressive result, finishing 18th at three-over par. Mathias Schjoelberg (74-76-73) finished tied for 40th, while senior Chris Russoshot rounds of 89, 85 and 77.
This is the second year in a row that ASU has excelled at the Bill Cullum Invitational, as last year's team tied for first as former player Spencer Fletcher tied for the top medalist honors himself.
Great tournament finally golf is working looking forward to start playing on spring! #GODEVILS we can do this!-- Jon Rahm Rodriguez (@littleJRmaza) October 23, 2012