A new Haskins frontrunner? Arizona State’s David Puig wins again

Sport

David Puig still has yet to be beaten this season.

The Arizona State sophomore, who along with his teammates didn’t compete in the fall, won his second straight individual title to begin the spring on Thursday in Hawaii. After winning the Southwestern Invitational last week by nine shots, the Spaniard fired three more rounds in the 60s and shot 13 under to capture the Amer Ari Invitational by four strokes over teammate Blake Wagoner and USC’s Sixian Guo.

“Puig is playing extremely well,” Arizona State head coach Matt Thurmond said. “He’s putting well, he’s playing with great emotion, energy, and confidence. It’s fun to see him win again and see his potential.”

Puig is the first Sun Devil to win back-to-back tournaments since Jared du Toit won The Prestige and Amer Ari in 2017. He also becomes the second player this season to win two individual titles, joining Pepperdine’s Joshua McCarthy, who won two West Coast Conference events in the fall and also was runner-up at the Southwestern. Considering many teams have played only one or two events this season because of the pandemic, Puig’s resume clearly stands out when considering early favorites for the Haskins Award, which is given to the top individual in Division I men’s golf.

(Note: Puig went 1-1 in his singles matches at the Copper Cup, a spring-opening match-play event against Arizona.)

Puig looks like next great Spanish golfer at Southwestern

Arizona State, which placed runner-up to San Diego State at the Southwestern, won the team title by 12 shots at 37 under, followed by USC (25 under), Georgia Tech (10 under), Oregon State (10 under) and San Jose State (6 over).

“This was pretty special win for us,” Thurmond said. “Last week was kind of traumatic. I don’t know if it’s quite as traumatic as people might think, but we really felt like we were the best team there and just slipped up at the end. It got away from us. But we were so excited to be able to compete again quickly and especially in a place that we love. It was fun to have a new course, the Hapuna course is really nice. When the wind came up, it played tough, but we take pride in finishing. That is something we talk about all the time, not just on the golf course, but in everything we do. And we did not finish last week, so to be able to get back and go play this week and have an opportunity again to win and seal the deal was cool.”