UW Completes Amazing Comeback to Win Pac-10 Golf
April 27, 2005
Walla Walla - The Washington men's golf team completed an amazing comeback to capture the Pac-10 Championship Wednesday at the Walla Walla Country Club. After finishing Monday's first round in last place, 20 strokes behind tournament leader Arizona State, the Huskies fought their way back up the leaderboard to win the school's first team championship in the sport since 1988. UW sophomore Erik Olson (Renton/Tahoma High School) won medalist honors, becoming the first Husky individual champion since O.D. Vincent in 1988.
Washington's entered Wednesday's final round in fifth place, trailing the Sun Devils by 17 strokes. The Huskies were able to make up the difference by shooting the second best single-round score of the tournament. They also benefited by playing early and missing most of the stiff winds that reached 30 miles per hour that swept through the course during the afternoon.
'We got really fortunate with mother nature,' said Washington head coach Matt Thurmond. 'But we believed (we could win) throughout the tournament. You just can't say enough about the way they played the last three days.'
The Huskies shot 11-under during the final three rounds of the tournament.
Washington fired a 5-under 350, one of just two team scores under par on the day, while the Sun Devils ended the round at 12-over 367. The two teams finished with identical 5-over, 72-hole scores of 1,425, but Washington won the league's tiebreaker.
Pac-10 Conference rules stipulate that in the event of a tie, the lowest score between each team's sixth man will decide the tournament. Washington's Sterling Clark came into the clubhouse with a 77 (+6), and Arizona State's Charly Simon posted a 78 (+7).
UCLA, which entered the final round in second place, shot 16-over 371 and fell to fourth at 12-over 1,432. Arizona was third at 8-over 1,428.
Olson won his first college tournament by shooting 8-under 276 to beat Arizona's Nathan Lashley by one stroke and ASU's Pat Moore by two shots. Olson carded a 2-under 69 Wednesday after posting scores of 70, 69 and 68 during his first three rounds.
'This feels awesome,' Olson said. 'It feels amazing. This is my first college victory, and it just happens to be the Pac-10 Championship. We made our putts today. We have so much potential on this team, it's unbelievable. We've been hitting it well all week; it was just a matter of time before it (the team victory) happened.'
Moore held the tournament lead heading down the stretch, but shot 4-over during his final four holes to slip back in the pack.Olson's top finish this season was a sixth-place effort at UW's season opening Opus Northwest Invitational. The Pac-10s proved to be his own comeback story. He was UW's high scorer during the Huskies last two regular-season tournaments.
Sophomore Alex Prugh posted Washington's low round during the final 18 holes to tie teammate James Lepp for 10th place. Prugh shot 3-under 68 to finish at even-par 284. Lepp turned in a 70 during the final round. Zach Bixler was 36th overall at 293 while Joe Panzeri placed 38th at 294 and Sterling Clark was 41st at 295.
The championship marked the fourth time the Huskies have won the conference title. Washington was the Athletic Association of Western Universities champion in 1961, the Bix Six titelist in 1963 and the Pac-10 champs in 1988.
In addition to Vincent, Olson becomes the third Husky to win the stroke play title. Clint Names, who was also a guard on the UW basketball team, was the Bix Six champion in 1961.
The Huskies were fourth at last year's Pac-10 Championship which was won by Arizona. Brock Mackenzie led the Huskies by shooting 284 to finish fourth, five strokes off the lead. Olson was 28th overall at 302 while Prugh was 24th at 301.
Washington's victory earns the Huskies the Pac-10's automatic berth to the NCAA Championships. Monday the NCAA will announce pairings for its three regional championship sites. The Huskies will attempt to qualify for the NCAA Championships for the seventh consecutive year. The Huskies are one of five teams to reach the NCAAs the past six years.
Walla Walla Country Club
Par 71, 6,606 yards
Team Results 1. Washington * 371-353-351-350-1425 1. Arizona State 351-358-349-367-1425 3. Arizona 356-366-352-354-1428 4. UCLA 352-355-354-371-1432 5. Oregon 369-357-355-355-1436 6. Stanford 363-359-351-365-1438 7. USC 362-352-368-362-1444 8. California 353-361-367-367-1449 9. Washington State 359-358-366-375-145810. Oregon State 363-366-362-370-1461* Washington wins tiebreaker format
Individual Leaders 1. Erik Olson, Washington 70_69-68-69-276 2. Nathan Lashley, Arizona 68_72-68-69-277 3. Pat Moore, Arizona State 67_67-69-76-279 4. Rob Grube, Stanford 69-72-66-74-281 5. Brandon Beck, California 69-69-72-72-282 5. Justin St. Clair, Oregon 70-72-69-71-282 7. Kevin Chappel, UCLA 67_70-71-75-283 7. Michael Jensen, California 69_68-71-75-283 7. Niklas Lemke, Arizona State 73-73-68-69-28310. Kevin Blue, Stanford 70-73-70-71-28410. Alejandro Canizares, Arizona State 71-69-71-73-28410. James Lepp, Washington 74-71-69-70-28410. Alex Prugh, Washington 75-70-71-68-284
Washington Results 1. Erik Olson 70-69-68-69-27610. James Lepp 74-71-69-70-28410. Alex Prugh 75-70-71-68-28436. Zach Bixler 77-72-72-72-29338. Joe Panzeri 80-72-71-71-29441. Sterling Clark 75-71-72-77-295
Washington's Top Pac-10 Championships Performance
TeamYear Place Team Scoring2005 1st 371-353-351-350-14251988 1st 11041963 1st ## 11971961 1st # 11811972 2nd * Not Available1964 2nd # 11681962 3rd # 12301960 3rd # Not Available2004 4th 365-373-368-370-14762001 4th 359-348-351-353-14111999 4th 354-358-363-365-14401966 4th # Not Available1965 4th # 1222
IndividualYear Name Place Scoring2005 Erik Olson 1st 70-69-68-69-2761988 O.D. Vincent 1st 73-70-71-2141961 Clint Names 1st# 2861991 O.D. Vincent 2nd 69-70-67-73-2792004 Brock Mackenzie 4th 67-68-77-72-2841988 Scott Whaley 2nd 71-74-73-218 Todd Tibke 2nd 2181961 Del Harris 3rd# 2942001 Corey Prugh 4th 72-67-67-69-2751999 Troy Kelley 4th 68-69-72-72-2811960 Clint Names 4th# Not Available1999 Gordy Scutt 6th 73-70-69-70-2821998 Brian Nosler 6th 70-67-76-76-2892002 Brock Mackenzie 7th 75-70-70-74-2891981 Dave Cuthill 8th 74-71-75-76-2962003 Brock Mackenzie 8th 71-72-75-72-2901961 John Lamey 8th# 2992001 Brock Mackenzie 9th 68-72-72-69-2812005 James Lepp 10th 74-71-69-70-2842005 Alex Prugh 10th 75-70-71-68-2841995 Ben Garner 10th 76-71-74-71-292## Big Six