ASU Crowned Pac-10 Champs
May 1, 2008
FAIRFAX, Calif. - In what proved to be the most dramatic round of the entire tournament, the 2008 Pac-10 Men's Golf Championship belongs to Arizona State after a playoff round win over USC. Creighton Honeck of Arizona took the Individual Pac-10 title after beating Kevin Chappell of UCLA, also in a one-hole playoff round.
USC and Arizona State battled all day, with the two schools going back and forth for first place and finally tying at 3-under par. One playoff hole on the 18th was all it took for the Sun Devils (354-361-356-364) to win their first Pac-10 men's golf title since 2000.
Arizona State coach Randy Lein was impressed with his squad's approach down the stretch. 'I told them that we just needed to tee off well and to think of it as starting over; the slates have been wiped clean. They are a young team and I am so proud of them.'
In an interesting Pac-10 connection, Coach Lein was the USC men's golf coach when current Trojan coach Chris Zambri was there as a player. During the award ceremony, Coach Lein acknowledged the play of ASU's only senior, Phil Telliard, noting that he was happy Telliard was able to end his collegiate career on a high point.
The individual leader competition was equally heated coming down the stretch with Honeck and Chappell tied at 3-under. In the sudden death playoff round on the 10th hole, Chappell teed off first and made par, then Honeck sank a birdie to win it. As a team, Arizona ended the tournament in sixth place after posting a 4-under par, the best outing of the day.
'We didn't make it as a team, but I wanted to end the season on a positive note,' Honeck said afterwards. 'Chappell is a very good friend of mine. One of the things I didn't want was to go to [another playoff hole]. I wanted to birdie and that's what I did. I love the pressure and that's a very pressured situation.'
Honeck, a senior from Austin Texas, said of the playoff hole, 'Once I hit the drive, that took a lot of the pressure off. My thinking was to just see where Chappell hit the ball and play accordingly. And that's what I did.'
Leading up to the playoffs, Chappell made a solid two-putt on the 17th hole and nailed what he called an 'awesome' putt on the 18th to finish the day. But that was not enough to name an individual leader, so a playoff ensued.
'Playoffs are fun,' Chappell said before the sudden death round started. 'Don't go make a mistake. Go out there and hit it down the middle and hit it in the middle of the green and see what happens.'
Chappell said he couldn't think of a tougher course he's played on thus far. From the wind conditions to the way the pins were set up, the Meadow Club offered Pac-10 players a formidable opponent.
Chappell led the Bruins to a fourth-place finish at 19-over 1439. After graduating in June, he looks to turn pro soon thereafter, eventually hoping to make the PGA Tour. Chappell is optimistic about his future, but knows it will not be easy. 'I have to earn my way up there.'
The final standings for the tournament were remarkably similar to the previous round:USC finished second at 15-over 1435 (354-361-356-364) while host Cal came in at third with an 18-over 1438 (346-362-371-359). UCLA finished fourth (348-361-372-358) and Stanford landed at fifth at 24-over 1444 (350-357-380-357). Arizona jumped up to sixth with a 26-over 1446 (354-360-381-351), while Washington tied for seventh at 39-over 1459 (357-367-370-365) with Oregon (359-363-374-1462) at 42-over par. In the final spots, Oregon State (354-366-374-367) finished ninth at 41-over, while Washington State came in last with 82-over 1502 (369-380-377-376).
The next tournament is the NCAA Men's Western Regionals in Seattle, Wash. The selection process will begin sometime next week.