Thurmond Named Pac-10 Golf Coach of the Year

April 29, 2005

Seattle - Washington men's golf coach Matt Thurmond has been named Pac-10 Coach of the Year in voting by the Pac-10 men's golf coaches after leading the Huskies to the conference championship this week. Thurmond had several of his players honors with all-Pac-10 honors, including first-team recognition for Pac-10 medalist Erik Olson and also James Lepp.

Olson won the Pac-10 individual title by one stroke, shooting 8-under 276 at the Walla Walla Country Club. It was his first collegiate championship. Lepp led the Huskies this year with five top-10 finishes. He won the Oregon Duck Invitational and set the school 54-hole scoring record by shooting 18-under 198 at the Waikoloa Intercollegiate. Lepp, who was a second-team All-American at Illinois in 2003 before transferring to Washington, holds the unique distinction of also having earned all-Big Ten Conference honors.

Sophomore Alex Prugh (Spokane) was a second-team selection while freshman Zach Bixler (Richland) was an honorable mention pick. Prugh tied with Lepp for 10th place at the Pac-10 Championships and four top-10 showings during the season. Bixler appeared in 10 tournaments and posted the third best scoring average on the squad.

Thurmond directed a young Washington team to a solid season capped by a stunning comeback victory in the Pac-10 Championships. The Huskies, in last place after the first round and still trailing by 17 strokes entering the final round of play, made up all of that ground to catch Arizona State and edge the Sun Devils in the tie-breaker to take the Conference title. The feat was made even more remarkable by the fact the Huskies title-winning team had three freshmen and two sophomores in its six-player lineup. It marked Washington's first Pac-10 title since 1988. In addition to winning the Pac-10 Championship, the Huskies won the Oregon Duck Invitational and posted top three finishes in the Duke Classic and Opus Northwest Husky Invitational. Thurmond, in his fourth season at Washington, has led the Huskies to the NCAA Tournament every year and has finished in the top 12 each time.

Arizona State's Alejandro Canizares was the Pac-10 Golfer of the year while Stanford's Rob Grube was the Freshman of the Year.

Canizares, a junior from Manilva, Spain, was a unanimous Player of the Year selection by the coaches. A two-time All-America selection and the 2003 NCAA champion as a freshman, Canizares is the top ranked Pac-10 player in the current Golfweek rankings. He has won three of the 12 tournaments he entered this year and posted two other top 10 finishes. He raised his career victory total to six tournaments with wins this year in the Big Ten/Pac-10 Challenge, the Arizona/Ping Intercollegiate and the Puerto Rico Classic. He is sporting a stroke average 71.59 per round heading into post-season competition.

Grube, from Hinsdale, IL, capped a sensational freshman season with a fourth-place finish in the Pac-10 Championships. In 12 tournaments this year, the freshman posted five top 10 finishes, including a tie for second at the U.S. Intercollegiate and the fourth-place finish at the Pac-10 Championships. His stroke average of 72.14 is tops among Pac-10 freshmen.


Name School Yr. HometownAlejandro Canizares Arizona State Jr. Manilva, SpainRob Grube Stanford Fr. Hinsdale, ILBen Hayes USC Sr. Paradise Valley, AZJames Lepp Washington Jr. Abbotsford, BC, CanadaHenry Liaw Arizona So. Rowland Heights, CAPat Moore Arizona State Sr. Phoenix, AZErik Olson Washington So. Renton, WA


Name School Yr. HometownDaniel Im UCLA Fr. Fullerton, CANathan Lashley Arizona Sr. Scottsbluff, NBTyler Ley USC Jr. Santa Barbara, CAMatt Ma Oregon So. Alea, HIJesse Mueller Arizona State Sr. Mesa, AZAlex Prugh Washington So. Spokane, WATaylor Wood USC Jr. Laguna Niguel, CA

Honorable Mention: Brandon Beck, So., CAL; Zach Bixler, Fr., WASH; Kevin Blue, Sr., STAN; Kevin Chappell, Fr., UCLA; Travis Esway, Fr., ARIZ; Jeff Hood, Sr., CAL; Michael Jensen, Fr., CAL; Niklas Lemke, So., ASU; Kipp Riehle, Sr., ARIZ; Justin St. Clair, Jr., ORE.

PAC-10 GOLFER OF THE YEAR: Alejandro Canizares, Jr., Arizona State

PAC-10 FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Rob Grube, Stanford

PAC-10 COACH OF THE YEAR: Matt Thurmond, Washington

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