MARANA, Ariz. -- The second day of the 2014 Men's Golf Pac-12 Championship came to a close Saturday from the Gallery Golf Club in Marana, Ariz. Through three rounds No. 25 Arizona State controls a 5th place position with 18 holes remaining to play.
ASU (379-360-384-1123) was one of nine schools forced to complete round two early Saturday morning before the commencement of the third round due to darkness on the course Friday evening. Though the Sun Devils wrapped up their best combined round as a team in the second round in the early morning hours, they had originally only intended to play 18 on Saturday and it seemed to affect them later on in round three. Inclement weather also played a role out on the course, but ASU only dropped one position from 4th to 5th place at day's end.
"The conditions were very difficult today," ASU head coach Tim Mickelson said. "The team actually had a pretty good round going in comparison to other teams up until the time the rain came. We played poorly in the rain and then all of our momentum was lost for the rest of the (third) round."
The four teams placed ahead of Arizona State are also four of the five Pac-12 schools ranked higher than ASU in the nation's rankings. No. 3 Stanford holds the commanding lead at +4, while No. 4 Cal (+24), No. 10 Washington (+27) and No. 20 USC (+39) follow in order. ASU, sitting at +43 for the tournament, sits just four strokes behind 3rd place. The other top 25 Pac-12 ranked school, No. 17 UCLA, maintains 7th place at +46.
Discussing the schools with good third round scores, Mickelson acknowledged the importance of timing on the course. "All of those good scores came from teams that played after us and did not have to deal with the heavy winds before the rain came," Mickelson said. "They had a distinct advantage based on when they teed off. We were unlucky in that regard, but we can't control that so we can't think about it."
For the Sun Devils, the most experienced golfer on the squad, junior Austin Quick (75-72-76-223), along with sophomore Max Rottluff (78-68-77-223) head the ASU leaderboard in a tie for 22nd place at +7. Quick and Rottluff have positioned themselves so that with a good final round on Sunday, both could make a leap up the leaderboard and into the top 15, or even the top 10. Currently they remain two strokes behind 15th place and four strokes behind a cluster of golfers tied for 8th.
Holding down ASU's third top spot is junior Broc Johnson (72-79-76-227) in his first season with the Sun Devils. Johnson jumped five positions in the third round and now remains tied with two other golfers for 33rd place at +11. No. 18 individually ranked Jon Rahm (77-75-77-229) still has yet to unleash his potential that ASU has consistently seen all season and rests two strokes behind Johnson at +13 and in a tie for 40th.
Rounding out the Arizona State competitors, freshman Blake Cannon (77-73-80-230) heads into the final round in a tie for 45th at +14, while co-freshman Nicolo Galletti (81-72-78-231) sits at +15 and in a tie for 48th. In their first go-arounds in a Pac-12 Championship, both first-year golfers showed promise in the second round, as Cannon's round of 73 (+1) and Galletti's 72 (even-par) put them on the short list of golfers to find such success on the course. The average score per round for the field through three rounds currently is 75.99.
"The goal tomorrow will be to try to slide into 4th place," Mickelson said, "and obviously stay ahead of Arizona." He continued, "In order to do those things, two things must happen: one, we must keep the ball in play off the tee, and two, we must putt better on the greens."
The fourth and final round of the 55th Annual Pac-12 Men's Golf Tournament will begin Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. MST.