Washington On Top After Day One

April 27, 2009



SEATTLE -- The University of Washington men's team's quest to win a fifth Pac-10 Championship got off to a promising start Monday, with five Husky golfers shooting a combined 725 on 36 holes to take the lead at the halfway point of the Pac-10 Men's Golf Championship.


The Huskies recorded the lowest overall team score during the afternoon round at the Seattle Golf Club after dropping a five-stroke lead during the morning round.


'It felt like a roller coaster a little bit today,' UW coach Matt Thurmond said. 'We focused on finishing strong -- that's been one of our mottos. And we finished strong on those last five holes.'


Oregon State proved to be the surprise of the day, shooting 364 during the first round to lead at the break. Oregon, which finished the first round tied with Stanford for third, improved by three strokes in the afternoon to finish the day in second place (729). The Beavers are currently third, six strokes behind Oregon.


'I didn't expect to finish in the second round where we did -- that was a nice surprise,' Oregon State coach Brian Watts said. 'Overall I'm pleased with how we did for the day, no doubt about it. It just shows that a little bit of patience and being disciplined with your course management goes a long way.'


Washington junior Darren Wallace, who shot a career-best 7-under 63 in the final round of last week's U.S. Intercollegiate, opened with a 2-under-70 and needed three consecutive birdies on the back nine of the afternoon round for a 72 for a 36-hole total of 142. He has a one-stroke lead over teammate Chris Killmer (71-72), Oregon's Daniel Miernicki (74-69) and Cal's John Murphy (69-74).


'It's pretty close to the best golf of my life,' said Wallace, a British Columbia product who won the Canadian Amateur when he was 15. 'It's really just come down to not making dumb mistakes. I felt all year that I've been hitting the ball well, and I feel like I've got the game to compete.'

The Beavers were led by senior Alex Williams, who tied for second place with a 2-under-70 during the morning session. Williams (70-74) finished the day in a tie for fifth with teammate Paul Peterson (71-73).


Defending Pac-10 champion Arizona State struggled on its first 18 holes and was ninth of the 10 teams heading into the afternoon round. The Sun Devils, who returned all members of last year's team, redeemed themselves somewhat on the second 18 holes, carding the second-best team score of the afternoon with 362. ASU is tied for fourth with Stanford at 371.


Thurmond noted that while the Pacific Northwest schools were doing well, he was somewhat suprised at the day's results.


'It wasn't like it was a weather issue,' he said. 'It was plenty warm. It wasn't raining. But the type of golf courses, we travel all through the year; we play on everyone's home course, but rarely do teams come to the Northwest. And they should. Because these kind of golf courses are what we do well on.'


The second day of Pac-10 action gets underway Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. Teams will play 18 holes Tuesday. Wednesday's final round is also 18 holes.

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