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
Auburn, WA
Par 72, 7,138 yards

Final Results

Team Results

 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

Washington Results

 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

Individual Leaders

 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

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