One of two freshmen on the Sun Devil men’s golf team, Mjaaseth entered a program that was near top of the world last spring.
After finishing second in the 2022 NCAA Championship, the Sun Devils reorganized over the summer with the intention of taking the next step. Although a significant veteran presence is gone, Mjaaseth is built for the biggest stage.
He is one of seven on ASU’s roster, a smaller group than most national contenders and one of two freshmen, along with the highly touted Californian. luke potter.
The Norwegian boasted significant youth accolades, including being the Young Masters European Champion, the Norwegian Under-15 National Champion and represented Europe at the Asia-Pacific Junior Championship. He has also been a Norwegian national level winner.
For a guy who had spent his entire career winning, coming to ASU meant a new platform to impress.
“He has earned the respect of his teammates,” head coach matt thurmond said. “Michael is quite reserved, he doesn’t say much and was quite quiet the first few weeks. He earned their respect for who he is and who he is.”
As a child in Norway, Mjaaseth was a competitive alpine skier. She discovered golf later than most of her competitors during summer camp when she was 10 years old.
For a mild-mannered, independent personality, golf was the perfect fit.
“I think my maturity is something that helps my golf because I feel like I can handle my bad shots,” Mjaaseth said. “It’s something I’ve worked on in recent years.”
When he arrived in Phoenix over the summer, he was met at the airport by associate head coach Thomas Sutton. Sutton was willing to take it for all the needs of the household; sheets, pillows, etc.
Mjaaseth had everything she needed without any help.
After Sutton dropped him off in the bedroom and helped him unpack, he told Mjaaseth to call him in the morning when she was ready to go to the supermarket.
“In the early afternoon, I hadn’t heard anything, so I called him,” Sutton said. “I was like ‘hey Michael, are you ready to go to the supermarket,'” and he was like, ‘oh, I already did that.'”
That’s how he is.
“He’s like a 40-year-old in a 20-year-old body because he looks so mature,” the senior said. ryggs johnston. “I think internally they have a lot of fire that allows them to work well with the team.”
That calm was evident at ASU’s first tournament, the Maui Jim Intercollegiate. Mjaaseth was Norway’s first alternate for the World Amateur Championships in Paris. During ASU’s structured qualifying, he received a call asking if he could compete.
He made the trip to France and after a whirlwind, finished ninth in the world.
“We were halfway through the qualifier, which means I was going to have to play as an individual in the first event,” said Coach Sutton. “For him to get to the top 10 at the World Amateur Championship and come back and earn his spot in the lineup. We didn’t have to give him a waiver or give him any special favors. That was a big moment for him.” his career and a great time for the team to accept him as a guy who came to play.”
Mjaaseth finished tying for first in the Maui Jim individual pool at 14-under, less than a week after returning from Paris. He was proud of the results, but because of his personality, he wanted more.
“My summer was really good and I was really hoping to carry that game into the fall season,” Mjaaseth said. “I played really well at Worlds so it was good. I tied for first at Maui Jim Individual so it was good.”
His fall season continued in a positive way. Mjaaseth qualified for the East Lake Cup in Atlanta, a meeting of the top four NCAA Championship teams last spring. He faced off against two upperclassmen, and despite going down in both matches, he pushed them both to the brink. It was a positive experience, but Mjaaseth’s killer instinct drives him to want more.
“In the matches, I didn’t play well enough,” Mjaaseth said. “I felt like I held up the games, but I wasn’t good enough. That’s the way games are, you either win or lose.”
Killer? A little. That’s what makes it so good.
“I think Michael’s coming on, playing so well, having such a stable personality and being so mature and responsible has been an X factor for us this fall,” Thurmond said. “It’s allowed everyone to feel safe. A lot of times, freshmen come in, they’re not really ready and it takes a while for them to get into their groove. Having them both [Mjaaseth & Potter] being strong right away is a big problem.”
Despite not feeling like he had the scoring performance he is capable of, Mjaaseth found many ways to grow this fall. For a quiet kid coming to the state of Arizona from Norway, Mjaaseth is locked up and ready for a strong spring campaign.
“He’s in on the jokes and he’s making the comments behind the scenes,” Thurmond said with a laugh. “He’s still naturally a quieter person, but I’m very proud of him. One time, I heard him make a joke in the back of the truck and my head spun like it was Michael himself, so for him to become profoundly a part of the team’s social culture is really good.”
The state of Arizona kicks off its spring 2023 campaign with the Southwestern Invitational from January 30 to February 1.
TheSunDevils.com will provide featured content on luke potter and a full preview of the spring season soon.