Husky Golfers Earn Bid to NCAA Championships
May 17, 2003
Auburn, WA -
The Washington men's golf team earned its fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships by tying Southern California for seventh at the West Regional Championship at Washington National Golf Club in Auburn. The Huskies shot 2-under 286 for the second consecutive day for a 54-hole total of 16-over 880. UCLA held off a late charge by Arizona to claim the Bruins first regional championship, winning by one stroke. New Mexico's Michael Letzig won medalist honors at 8-under 208.
Pepperdine's Michael Putnam shot 8-under 64 during the afternoon session to place second overall at 6-under 210 and qualify for the NCAAs as an individual. Putnam's score was a course record for Washington National Golf Club. Denver's Tony Giarratano was the other player to advance to the NCAAs as an individual. He shot even-par 72 on Saturday to finish tied for eighth at 1-under 215.
After opening the tournament with a 20-over 308 in the first round, the Huskies hopes of qualify for the national tournament May 27-30 at Oklahoma State's Karsten Creek Golf Club looked bleak.
'It was really disappointing,' said Husky junior Brock Mackenzie, who led Washington with a sixth-place finish. 'But yesterday's second round was fantastic. It might have been even more important than today's. It put us in a position where we didn't have to do something extraordinary, we just had to play another solid round. Yesterday's round set us up for today.'
Mackenzie led the Huskies resurgence. He shot 4-under 68 on Saturday for a three-day total of 4-under 214. It marked the second consecutive year he has turned in a top-10 finish at the NCAA regional. He was fourth last seasonwhen the Huskies shared the team title with New Mexico. This year's finish was the third best by a Husky at the event.
'I made a couple of key putts today,' said Mackenzie who opened his round with a bogie on the No. 10 hole and then had birdies on 11, 15, 17, three and nine. 'In the middle of the round I was sharp, I missed a couple of long putts but I made the pars. It's amazing how important they are to keep your momentum going and your round going forward.'
Mackenzie said he took note of the team's strong showing on Saturday while finishing his round.
'I saw the leaderboard after I finished number 6 and I played a little conservative with my putting. I saw the team was playing well and I just wanted to get it in. The birdie on my 18th hole, that's the best way to finish, in front of the home fans. I hit a wedge at 135 (yards) and I tapped in a six footer to shoot a 68. That is exactly how you dream it. I was glad to shoot a low number and help the team out. That's what we needed and everyone else backed it up.'
Junior Dan Potter shot 70 to post the Huskies second best tournament score at 3-over 219. John Robertson finished at 223 while Derek Berg shot 225. Conner Robbins finished at 227. Potters scores included eagles during the first and third rounds.
As a team, the Huskies back-to-back rounds of 286 (572) were the second best combined score over the final two rounds. Only Arizona, at 570 performed better during the final 36 rounds of play.
'We had to play great the last two days,' said Husky coach Matt Thurmond. 'We finished really strong yesterday and that was huge because starting the day at 18 over in 10th place is a lot different that starting at 22 over and 14th place. I agree with Brock that the second round was huge for us.
'After the first round I was interested to see how the team was. It was pretty calm. It was 'Okay, we know what we have to do, we can do it. Lets go out and get the job done.' It wasn't panic.
Thurmond praised the poise of his junior All-American.
'Last year Brock shot 67 in the same situation. We referred back to last year when he had to carry us and he did it again today. His game is so good that under pressure it holds up. He is able to tune it up and get even better.'
UCLA, which entered Saturday with a nine-stroke lead, shot 5-over 293 during the final round. The Bruins John Merrick helped UCLA hold onto the championship on his final hole. Playing out of a bunker 30 yards from the hole, Merrick dropped his wedge shot to within three feet of the cup and tapped in for a par.
'It was as good as an up and down that I have seen,' said Bruin coach O.D. Vincent. 'He's been a clutch performer. He won the Pac-10 championship with two eagles and won that tournament by 10 shots.
'The team had just an average day today as far as the score goes,' Vincent said. 'I think it might be better for us in the next couple of weeks that we were on the ropes and needed to perform down the stretch.'
Arizona nearly caught the Bruins on the leaderboard after posting a team score of 285 for the second consecutive day. The Wildcats were led by U.S. Amateur Champion Ricky Barnes. He shot 69 and 67 during the final 36 holes to place third overall at 5-under 211.
UNLV and Georgia tied for third at the tournament at 871 while Arizona State and New Mexico shared fifth place at 879. Oregon and San Diego State grabbed the final two qualifying positions to the NCAA Championship by tying for ninth at 21-over 885. The Ducks benefited by a hole-in-one by Jim Seki on his eighth hole. Oregon shot 295 during each round of the tournament. Texas El Paso just missed forcing a playoff for the final spot by finishing one stroke behind the Ducks and Aztecs.
Clemson won the NCAA East Regional by nine strokes at 25-under 839. Other teams qualifying from that regional were Georgia Tech (848), Florida (859), Tennessee (863), Duke (866), Wake Forest (868), Augusta State (873), South Carolina (873), Vanderbilt (875) and Auburn (877).
Oklahoma State took top honors at the Central Regional by five shots at 8-under 856. The other nine schools to advance from that site to the NCAAs were Illinois (861), North Carolina State (862), North Carolina (867), Texas (867), Kentucky (869), SMU (870), Minnesota (870), Arkansas (870) and Wichita State (871).
NCAA West Regional Golf Championships
Washington National Golf Course
Par 72, 7,138 yards
1. UCLA 291 280 293 864 2. Arizona 295 285 285 865 3. UNLV 296 289 286 871 3. Georgia 297 289 285 871 5. New Mexico 294 289 296 879 5. Arizona State 299 288 292 879 7. Washington 308 286 286 880 7. Southern California 304 289 287 880 9. Oregon 295 295 295 885 9. San Diego State 302 292 291 88511. Texas El Paso 300 298 288 88612. UC-Irvine 300 293 296 88913. Pepperdine 299 307 291 89714. Oregon State 304 300 296 90015. Old Dominion 302 303 296 90115. Denver 295 300 306 90115. Stanford 316 298 287 90118. Fresno State 302 303 300 90519. Colorado State 306 298 304 90820. Brigham Young 317 299 300 91621. California 301 306 310 91721. Xavier 308 308 303 91923. Navy 318 300 307 92524. Austin Peay State 312 314 306 93225. Oral Roberts 319 310 311 94026. Central Conn. St. 330 310 309 94927. Loyola (MD) 332 327 319 978
6. Brock Mackenzie 74 72 68 21422. Dan Potter 77 72 70 21949. John Robertson 78 70 75 22362. Derek Berg 79 73 73 22578. Conner Robbins 81 70 76 227
1. Michael Letzig, New Mexico 69 68 71 208 2. Michael Putnam, Pepperdine # 71 75 64 210 3. Ricky Barnes, Arizona 75 69 67 211 4. Chris Nallen, Arizona 70 69 73 212 5. Steve Conway, UCLA 71 71 71 213 6. Brock Mackenzie, Washington 74 72 68 214 6. John Merrick, UCLA 75 67 72 214 8. Brien Davis, UNLV 76 70 69 215 8. David Denham, Georgia 72 70 73 215 8. David Giarratano, Denver# 74 69 72 215 8. Kevin Kisner, Georgia 71 77 67 21512. Dan Swanson, UTEP 75 71 70 21612. Issac Weintraub, San Jose State 73 74 69 21612. Taylor Wood, Southern California 76 70 70 21615. Brian Miller, San Diego State 70 74 73 21716. Chris Baryla, UTEP 73 72 73 21816. Travis Bertoni, Cal Poly* 73 71 74 21816. Jay Choi, New Mexico 75 73 70 21816. Travis Johnson, UCLA 71 72 75 21816. Ryan Moore, UNLV 74 74 70 21816. Mark Warman, San Diego State 76 72 70 218
* Competed as Individual
# Qualified for NCAAs as Individual