Washington Golfers Place Third at Opus NW Invitational

Sept. 28, 2004

Bremerton - The 20th-ranked Washington men's golf team turned in its best round of the tournament to place third at its Opus NW Invitational at the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain. The Huskies shot 3-under 357 Tuesday to complete the 54-hole event at 14-over 1094, two strokes behind 15th-ranked BYU. USC, which entered the final round with a 19-stroke lead, shot 10-over 370 but still managed to win by seven strokes. The Trojans completed the tournament at 5-over 1085.

USC was led by senior Ben Hayes, who took medalist honors with a 4-under 212 performance. BYU's Oscar Alvarez was second at 213 while teammate Greg Machtaler tied for third at 214.

'We obviously came up here feeling like we were going to have a good team and wanted to put ourselves in a position where we had a chance to win going into the last round,' said USC coach Kurt Schuette. 'We did that with the way we played in the first two rounds. We didn't play quite as well as I wanted to today. The golf course was the winner today. There were a lot of tough hole locations and we got out of position a few times.'

Hayes carded rounds of 69, 71 and 72 to win his first collegiate title. His teammate, Taylor Wood, who entered the final round in first place, shot 5-over 77 Tuesday to fall back to 10th place.

'I been close before, but I've never been able to seal the deal,' said Hayes of his first career victory. 'I thought I had given it away because I stumbled a bit at the end, but I made a good two-putt on 18 for a birdie and it feels good to win that way. There was no particular part of my game that stood out. I made a lot of birdies and made a lot of good putts. I thought well. I made a lot of good decisions and I controlled my emotions. I had a great time out there.

'It was very gratifying because we finished up poorly at the end of last year, missing the cut at nationals. This is a motivating experience for us as a team. We all worked very hard.'

Washington was led by sophomores Alex Prugh and Erik Olson during the team's first tournament of the season. Prugh posted a 4-under 68 during the final round to move up from 14th to a tie for third. It was his best finish ever in a collegiate event.

Olson, who opened the event with a career-best 66, shot 70 during the third round to tie for sixth at 1-under 215. Junior James Lepp, playing in his first UW tournament after sitting out the 2003-04 season after transferring from Illinois, placed 14th at 3-over 219.

'I'm very happy with the way they came back today, especially with such a young group, said Husky coach Matt Thurmond. 'Our goal this year is to be in contention on the last day of every tournament. They played well enough to where USC had to at least pay attention down the stretch.

'Alex and Erik and James are just outstanding. They're going to play great this year. Alex won our qualifier and then he comes out and plays great today. It was by far his best college tournament and a great start to his year.'

Washington's next tournament is Oct. 11-12 at the Alister Mackenzie Invitational in Fairfax, Calif.

Opus NW Invitational
Olympic Course at Gold Mountain
Bremerton, WA
Par-72, 7073 yards

Team Results

 1. USC                356-359-370-1085 2. BYU                371-363-358-1092 3. Washington         367-370-357-1094 4. Minnesota          366-371-370-1107 4. Coastal Carolina   370-365-372-1107 6. UC Irvine          368-368-383-1119 7. UC Davis           373-371-377-1121 8. Oregon State       381-377-381-1139 9. Washington State   376-393-375-114410. San Diego State    389-382-378-1149

Individual Leaders 1. Ben Hayes, USC 69-71-72-212 2. Oscar Alvarez, BYU 73-68-72-213 3. Greg Machtaler, BYU 70-72-72-214 3. Josh Persons, Minnesota 71-71-72-214 3. Alex Prugh, Washington 75-71-68-214 6. Aaron Choi, San Diego State 74-70-71-215 6. Dustin Johnson, Coastal Carolina 73-70-72-215 6. Bronson LaCassie, Minnesota 71-72-72-215 6. Erik Olson, Washington 66-79-70-21510. Taylor Wood, USC 68-71-70-215

Washington Results 3. Alex Prugh 75-71-68-214 6. Erik Olson 66-79-70-21514. James Lepp 72-75-72-21935. Cody Upham 76-73-78-22720. Joe Panzeri 78-73-71-22245. Sterling Clark 78-78-76-232

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