Rain Cools Off Red Hot Huskies at NCAA Golf Championships

May 29, 2002

Columbus, OH - The Washington men's golf team was off to a strong start at the NCAA Championships before heavy rain halted play late in the afternoon at Ohio State's Scarlet Golf Course. Washington with players on holes 15 through 17, stood at 5-under par. Of the 15 teams that had completed play, Colorado led the field at 4-under 280 on the par-71, 7,222-yard course.

When play was suspended, Illinois, with players on holes 10-13, stood at 9-under while Georgia Tech, with players on their final four holes, stood at 8-under. North Carolina, with players on their 11th through 13th holes, was 4-under. Arizona, which had completed play, was 2-under.

Husky sophomore Brock Mackenzie was tied for first place on the leaderboard with a 5-under score after 14 holes. Colorado's Ben Portie carded a 5-under 66. Georgia Tech's Nicholas Thompson and San Diego State's Mark Warman both completed rounds of 4-under 67.

Mackenzie's round included seven birdies. Twice he chipped in from off the green for birdies. The Yakima native had a stretch of five birdies over seven holes during his front nine. He almost made it seven for seven. He had a chip shot on one hole that settled two inches from the hole and his birdie putt on a par three stopped at the lip of the cup.

'I played pretty good and I had some shots go in that normally don't,' Mackenzie said. 'That was the only difference. I was not hitting the ball as well as I usually do. Fortunately my chipping was really good today and I made a couple of long putts.'

The Huskies short game helped to put them near the top of the leaderboard. Washington players chipped in for birdies six times during the opening round, including four on the front nine when the Huskies made the turn at 8-under. Washington, which led the nation this season with 696 birdies according to Golfstat.com's standings, totaled 18 birdies during their opening round before play stopped.

'That's why we are under par,' said first-year coach Matt Thurmond. 'Even par on this course is a good score. We just really battled and did well. We didn't really hit the ball that well and we were in the rough plenty of times.

'All you want to do on day one is to put yourself in a good position. You can't win it in day one, but you can lose it. Our goal is to be in a good position after the first 36 holes. We're not finished with the round, but we are off to a good start in accomplishing that goal.'

Husky junior John Robertson (Olympia) was 1-under and on the 15th fairway when play ended. Junior Conner Robbins (Bremerton) was 1-over after 15 holes while sophomore Dan Potter (Couer d'Alene) stood at even par through 15. Sophomore Corey Prugh (Spokane) was 1-over through 16. Robbins and Prugh both had four birdies during their first rounds.

The first round will resume at 7 a.m. on Thursday followed by the second round. The Huskies will start their second round during the morning session Thursday. Rain and thundershowers are forecast for the Columbus area again on Thursday.

'It makes for a long day,' Mackenzie said. 'Fortunately its only about 20 or 22 holes and we play a lot of tournaments with 36 holes in a day. It should not be a big difference. It is nice that we can play our round and then tee it up right away. That's a lot better than sitting around for five hours waiting to play again.'

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