UCLA Leads Men's Golf Pac-10 Championships After First Day of Play

April 24, 2006

UCLA, guided by sophomore Daniel Im and junior Chris Heintz, finished and started strong to lead after a 12-hour, 36-hole first day that was cut short by darkness at the USC-hosted 2006 Pac-10 Men's Golf Championship at the Canyons Course at Bighorn G.C., in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

The Bruins, one of eight teams to complete play, followed an opening round 349 (-6) with a second-round 348 (-7) for a 697 (-13), which included a combined 10-under effort on their final three holes (7-9).

That enabled UCLA to take the lead back from Washington, which had vaulted into first early in the second round. The Huskies, led by juniors Erik Olson and Alex Prugh and senior James Lepp, barely finished before night fell. Still, the Huskies, the 2005 Pac-10 title winner, played well enough to sit firmly in second at 6-under (704).

Arizona was in third at 7-over, but still has a handful of holes to finish, as does Oregon. USC was fourth at 718 (+8) and was followed by Stanford (727, +17) and Arizona State (727, +17), Oregon State (730, +20), California (743, +33), Washington State (745, +35) and Oregon (+40).

Im finished in first with a 135 (-7) after a 67 (-4) and 68 (-3). Washington's Erik Olson, the 2005 Pac-10 individual champion, was two back at 137 (-5), tied with Arizona State's Niklas Lemkes, who opened with a 66 (-5).

Heintz checked in with a 139 (-3), tied with Prugh, who had a first-round best 65 (-6).

'We were fortunate to golf first and get our round in,' UCLA Coach O.D. Vincent said. 'We weren't playing well in the middle of the second round, but the last five holes was the best stretch I've ever seen. We finished with some good momentum.'

Said leader Im: 'It was a really long day. There are so many hazards here, you miss one shot and it's tough to find it, first of all. Some guys had to hit two or three balls off the tee. If you're in the fairway or rough, it was good.

'We stepped up (at the end) and did what we were supposed to do. We struggled early (in the second round), but the last six holes were generous enough to make some good scores.'

Said Washington Coach Matt Thurmond: 'We lost a few shots on the last hole, but overall, we had a nice day. It's an enjoyable course that provides a lot of great birdie opportunities. The greens are so fast, that's what makes it so tough.'

Senior Tyler Ley led host USC at 1-under (141). He was tied with Lepp and Arizona's Ben Fox.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. with Arizona and Oregon completing their second round. The third round will begin at 9:30 p.m.