Coach Thurmond's NCAA Blog - Day Three

May 28, 2008

Washington men's golf coach Matt Thurmond is writing a daily blog during the Huskies' run in the NCAA Championships this week. Today, Coach Thurmond writes about the team's first round performance which has them ninth among 30 teams playing a difficult course...

It was cold and windy to start the day. Unfortunately, it was pretty calm for the afternoon teams and they got the much better end of the draw. I'm proud of the way we played today. For 16 holes we were the best team in the country. The final two holes are really tough and they got to us. Hole 17 is about 220 with water right the whole way and the wind was blowing left to right. John had a beautiful round and lost a couple in the water for a quadruple on that hole. I felt so bad for him, but he handled it like a champion. Hours later, this year's player of the year, Rickie Fowler of Oklahoma State, went from -3 to +1 with a quadruple bogey on that same hole.

We all had trouble on 18 as well. If you don't hit the fairway you can't get near the green in two. With a narrow fairway, a crosswind, and the cumulative toll of demanding shots throughout the day, the tee shot is very difficult. So we limped in a bit, but still find ourselves in 9th place after round 1. We had great concentration today and really fought hard. Zach and Nick's rounds are excellent on this course in these conditions.

We have four of our five players that have never been to the NCAA Championship. Today what I wanted was for them to stay in the game, and to play well enough to realize that they really can compete with anyone this week. I think that happened. They know more than ever that this tournament is wide open and that we can do great things this week.

I didn't lie about the difficulty of the course did I? Tonight my wife Kathryn asked me which was the harder nine because it was tough to tell from the scores. She observed, 'It looked like whichever nine the teams played second was the hardest.' That is what this course does. It beats you down. You feel like you are walking a tightrope knowing that at any moment you will fall. You know you can't avoid difficulty forever and when you've hacked around in the rough on a hole you realize even more how important that next tee shot is. So the day gets tougher and tougher. It's an 18 round boxing match.

To relax a bit we went go-karting tonight. It was great fun. We laughed a lot, got yelled at for our aggressive driving and 'bumping' and enjoyed being off the course. Tomorrow should be fun.....sort of.


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