Bound for the Women's U.S. Open, Alexandra Forsterling looks to end ASU career with title

Following the conclusion of Arizona State's second round at the NCAA Championships, head coach Missy Farr-Kaye went to find Alexandra Forsterling.

She felt like the senior wasn't playing like "her normal self" and trusting her game after finishing four-over-72 and three-over-72 during the event's first two days.

So Farr-Kaye wanted to remind Forsterling that she is still the same player who qualified for the 2022 U.S. Women's Open and is a finalist for the ANNIKA Award, given to the top women's college golfer.

"I said, 'You're still the No. 1 player on this team and I just want you to relax and enjoy it and let all that great talent you have come out,'" Farr-Kaye said.

Even though she finished Sunday at six-over-72, Forsterling heeded her coach's advice by notching three birdies on the back nine during the third day of the NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship.

It marked the continuation of her impressive 2022 season, which includes a win at the PING/ASU Invitational and an invite to the Augusta Women's National Amateur in Georgia.

Alexandra Fosterling prepared to put at hole one of the NCAA Women's Golf Championship round three at Grayhawk Gold Club on May 22, 2022 in Scottsdale, AZ.
Alexandra Fosterling prepared to put at hole one of the NCAA Women's Golf Championship round three at Grayhawk Gold Club on May 22, 2022 in Scottsdale, AZ.

She was also named the Pac-12 Women's Golf Scholar Athlete of the Year and earned a spot on the conference's first team.

The Berlin, Germany, native is preparing to take the next step of her career, with plans to play in the Arnold Palmer Cup and qualifying school for the LPGA Tour this summer. But before she heads to North Carolina for the U.S. Women's Open, Forsterling wants to win a national title, something that has evaded her so far during her time in Tempe.

"That's the one huge thing you're working for all year," Forsterling said. "You want to get a ring on your finger."

Only time will tell whether Forsterling concludes her ASU tenure with a trophy, but her focus will soon shift to the Open, which runs from June 2-5. Forsterling was one of three golfers to clinch a spot in the event after shooting two-under-par over 36 holes during an April qualifier at Gainey Ranch Golf Club in Scottsdale.

She beat out more than 75 players, one of the more recent triumphs in a string of high-profile victories.

This season for ASU, Forsterling has seven top-10 finishes. Additionally, she flourished across the Atlantic this summer by winning the German Women's Amateur and earning runner-up in the European Ladies' Amateur.

"These tournaments really got my confidence back up," Forsterling said. "I got more consistent, changed my putter. All those little things came together and then (I) started off my senior year really good and kept going."

Farr-Kaye looks forward to Forsterling returning to that form, and believes she will. Her faith in the German native has been strong since the recruiting process, when Farr-Kaye took the word of an American coach in the country to look at her performances.

Even though Forsterling "was an exception" because Farr-Kaye didn't watch her play live in high school, hearing about her amateur success was enough.

"A lot can be said when you make Federations teams in Europe," said the Sun Devils' head coach. "You (have) got to be a good player."

Forsterling lived up to that when she arrived in the Grand Canyon State, gradually improving in 18 events across her first two seasons in Tempe. But just before the COVID-19 pandemic, her father passed away unexpectedly.

Farr-Kaye supported Forsterling during this time, and remembers how last summer marked a turning point in her career.

"I said to her one day, 'Your dad wants you to have fun and play,'" Farr-Kaye said. "I said, 'You don't have to play for your dad, but just know that he would want you to be happy and it's okay to move to that space.' She came back, she had a great summer... and all of a sudden I'm like 'Oh my gosh, she has a chance at Augusta National.'

"Everything started to fall into place, so it's been really fun to watch."

That success is making an impact inside ASU's facility at Papago Golf Course, where a maroon-and-gold board lists goals for the program's golfers.

Top-100 player on Golfstat. All American. Academic All American. Play in the Palmer Cup.

Forsterling, currently No. 6 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Women's Golf rankings, has achieved some of these marks throughout her career in Tempe. This has impacted fellow Sun Devils, including freshman Grace Summerhays, to push to qualify for events including the Augusta Women's National Amateur.

"Just being able to learn off her is great," Summerhays said. "Honestly, just having her as my friend is pretty cool, too. I get to see how she plays on the course, how she reacts to things."

Since this week marks Forsterling's final college event, Farr-Kaye is making sure to tell her to enjoy all the experiences from the course to the van rides and the team dinners, and not worry about the future.

Whether that future includes a title remains to be seen, but Forsterling is ready to do whatever she can to make it happen in her last time donning maroon and gold.

"It would mean so much to me, especially for the team," Forsterling said. "We're getting along so well and I think we would all really deserve it."

ASU women's golf struggles during third round, but advances to top-15

Roughly 90 minutes after finishing its third round, ASU went to work.

The Sun Devils, who finished 14-over-par on Sunday, hit the driving range and putting green to practice as the leaderboard of the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship continued to change.

“We’ll see how the day shakes out,” Farr-Kaye said. “They’re beating themselves up a lot right now and we’ll have a good afternoon. We’ll see where it all ends up.”

It ended up great for the Sun Devils, who made the 15-team cut to keep their hopes for a ninth national title alive.

Freshman Calynne Rosholt and senior Alessandra Fanali both shot one-over-72, while programs including Texas, Virginia and TCU dropped multiple spots to help ASU solidify its place in the fourth round.

Farr-Kaye belives that her squad, currently No. 12 in the standings, will grow from today’s performance, which included 17 bogeys to nine birdies. She also hopes their mindsets shift from focusing on the mistakes they made to their successes at Grayhawk Golf Club so far.

“What I said to them was that, ‘Everybody has contributed in the last three days with some great things,’” ASU’s head coach said. “That’s what they need to focus on. Not what they’re not doing, not what they’re not missing, but what they’ve done and what hopefully we’ll have a chance to continue to do.”

Tomorrow comes with high stakes since the field is reduced to eight and it is the last day of individual play. Rosholt is the Sun Devils’ only player in the top 25, currently tied for 15th at +4.

“They want to represent Arizona State well,” Farr-Kaye said. “They want to represent their families well (and) everybody out watching. It’s really easy to put a little extra pressure on yourself and so I think… we just need to play our regular game and not get too stressed out.”

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Arizona State's Forsterling hopes to win title in final college event