PALOS VERDES, Calif. - After starting the final round five strokes out of the lead, No. 38 Monica Vaughn tallied seven birdies to come from behind and earn her first individual victory of her Arizona State career.
The junior's six-under 65 was the best round of the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge by three strokes -- and is also the best round of her college career. It is also tied for the second-best round in ASU history behind only Louise Stahle (64) set in 2005.
"Mo's 65 today was one of the best rounds I have ever seen in the 14 years of this tournament," said head coach Missy Farr-Kaye. "It's one of the toughest tournaments with the toughest field and she played outstanding golf.
"By far the best win of her career."
The victory came against some of the top-ranked women in the country, like No. 1 Leona Maguire of Duke, No. 2 Karen Chung of USC and No. 3 Bronte Law of UCLA.
"This win feels so good because I came from so far behind adn was determined to go low and stay low," Vaughn said. "All day I could just feel that I was going to have a good day the course is such a mental challenge more than anything. I just went out there knowing I had nothing to lose and played very intentionally and committed to every shot and every putt."
One of the benefiting factors for Vaughn was her performance on the toughest holes on the course. Vaughn shot three-under on the top-nine handicap holes.
This was after shooting two-over par on each of the first two days on those same holes.
"We worked and talked really hard at being decisive," Farr-Kaye said of the change in play. "She did a great job committing to shots and being decisive. She exemplified what it means to be 'in the zone'."
Vaughn was also the only player in the tournament to finish under par on the par-3's, par-4's and par-5's.
"She wanted to make a statement and she made it," Farr-Kaye said. "It's so exciting to watch her continue to grow as a woman and a golfer."
Despite having a comfortable lead with just two holes to go, Vaughn said she had no idea where she sat on the leaderboard.
"I knew something was going on because I got a bigger crowd on the last few holes and some photographers were following me," she said. "On my last hole -- the 4th -- I just wanted to two putt and get out of there. Coach hadn't looked at scores because she didn't want to know and neither did I.
"But she came up to me on the final hole and told me she thought I won and we both started crying like little babies," she laughed. "It was hilarious."
Vaughn has won one other tournament during her career, but it was a share of the victory in the 2015 PING/ASU Invitational. This time, she stood alone at the top.
"I feel this win was a bigger victory in my life than last year at the PING/ASU because it's my own," Vaughn said. "All my hard work the past couple weeks really just put me in position for this."
As a team, the No. 13 Sun Devils finished in seventh out of 16 of the best teams in the country.
ASU finished ahead of No. 10 Oklahoma State, No. 9 Arizona and No. 20 UNLV.
The women will prepare for two weeks before they compete again at the Bruin Wave Invitational from Sunday, Feb. 28 through Tuesday, March 1 in San Luis Obispo, Calif.