UW, Bixler Second After First Day Of Husky Invitational At Gold Mountain

Oct. 1, 2007

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BREMERTON, Wash. - Led by senior Zach Bixler, the Washington men's golf team is tied for second with Oregon after the first day of the Husky Invitational on the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain Golf Club, Monday. The tournament marks the 2007 fall debut for the Huskies.

Although second round play was halted due to darkness with six players from the top three teams - Oregon State, Oregon and Washington - still needing to finish one last hole tomorrow, the three Northwest squads led the 13-team field. The host Huskies are tied with Oregon in second at 16-over, while Oregon State leads the pack at 5-over. Pepperdine sits in fourth place at 19-over 595 with Cal and San Diego State tied for fifth at 21-over 597.

Bixler is currently 2-under par after shooting a first round score of 2-under 70 and is one of the six players left to finish his second round tomorrow. Bixler is in second place, four strokes behind leader James Allenby of Oregon State who also needs to play one more hole. Idaho's Ben Weyland and Pepperdine's Carl Smith are tied for third at even-par 144.The highlight of the day came from New Mexico's Brandon Putnam who scored a hole-in-one on the eighth hole during the second round.

UW junior John Wise, the 2006 Husky Invitational champion, is tied for 14th at 4-over 148, carding two 18-hole scores of two-over 74. Rounding out Washington's lineup are sophomore Darren Wallace who is tied for 25th at 7-over 151, sophomore Nick Taylor who is tied for 39th at 9-over and junior Kellen Eakin who is tied for 54th at 13-over 81.

'It wasn't our best day today,' UW head coach Matt Thurmond said. 'We would certainly like to be leading or winning our own tournament, but I'm actually really proud of the way our guys finished today. We made a lot of birdies down the stretch when we were struggling, and we hung in there and fought hard. We have a lot of improving to do, but that is the kind of character that we need to have.'

The tournament also marked the collegiate debut of two Husky freshmen. Tze Huang Choo and Kevin Spooner are playing as individuals. Choo is tied for 41st at 10-over 154, while Spooner is tied for 54th at 13-over 157. Choo started strong with a 1-over 73 in his first round as a Husky, but fell to a 9-over 81 in the second round.

While the third round of the Husky Invitational will tee off at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow, the six players still needing to play the 18th and final hole of the second round will tee off at 8 a.m. Those players include Washington's Bixler and Taylor, Oregon's Joey Benedetti and Derek Sipe, and Oregon State's Allenby and Vincent Johnson.

The Gold Mountain Golf Complex will also serve as the site of the 2008 NCAA West Regional which the Huskies will host.

'The volunteers and the people running the tournament are just amazing,' Thurmond said. 'This is truly one of the finest tournaments that any student-athlete will be a part of. Many thanks to all of the wonderful people at Gold Mountain and all of the volunteers that have helped us.'

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