UW Rallies To Win Topy Cup
Sept. 10, 2009
Tanagura, Japan -- The No. 2 ranked Washington Husky men's golf team mounted a furious comeback over the final nine holes to win the Topy Cup in Tanagura, Japan. Washington finished the tournament 8-under 856 overall, while Tohoku Fukushi University, the four-time defending champions, shot a combined 4-under 860.
The Topy Cup includes four American universities and eight Japanese colleges and is played under the five count four format.
The Huskies entered the final round holding a three-shot advantage, but lost the lead before the turn. Washington carded a combined score of 1-under 143 on the front nine, while Tohoku Fukushi shot a blistering 6-under 138.
Led by senior Richard Lee, who shot a 4-under 32 on the back nine, Washington was able to make up ground on the Japanese contingent and tie things up by No. 12. On No. 13, the Huskies grabbed the one-stroke advantage and would never look back from there.
Washington increased it's lead to what would prove to be an insurmountable advantage on No. 14, a 521-yard, par-5. All five of the Huskies scored a birdie, while Tohoku Fukushi counted a birdie and three pars, to give the UW a 4-stroke lead.
'We caught fire on the back nine when it mattered most,' said Husky head coach Matt Thurmond. 'Richard's play really carried us today. He played with an intensity I hadn't seen in him yet. He really wanted to win it.'
Lee almost did win it, but had to settle for second behind Tohoku Fukushi's Yoshinori Fujimoto. Lee finished 7-under 209 overall, two strokes behind Fujimoto's 9-under 207. The next closest scores behind the top two were four strokes back.
'Coming into this week I felt good about my game,' said Lee. 'I kind of have a new approach to tournaments. You can't force yourself to win. It just has to happen on its own. I now feel less pressure. I just had a better mindset.'
Lee equalled the low round of the tournament with a 6-under 66 on Thursday, but Fujimoto shot a 5-under 67 to stave off his advances.
Nick Taylor was the Huskies' next highest finisher, carding a 1-over 73 in the final round to finish 1-under 214 overall and tied for eighth.
Darren Wallace was able to rebound after shooting a first round 77 and finished the tournament on a strong note shooting a 2-under 70. He tied for 12th overall at 2-over 218.
The win gives the Huskies six team victories over the span of one calendar year. Prior to the current stretch, the Huskies had won just 12 team tournaments since 2000.
'I loved being around these guys this week,' said Lee. 'We had more fun than everyone else. We are positive with each other, have fun, and play hard. It's great to be part of the team that really believes in each other and cares about each other. We can always count on our teammates so it gives us less pressure and helps us to play like we did today.'
1. Washington: -7 (296-279-281=856)
2. Tohoku Fukushi: -4 (284-294-282=860)
3. Colorado State: E (293-288-283=864)
4. Texas: +6 (290-291-289=870)
5. Chuo Gakuin: +8 (294-291-287=872)
6. Nihon: +24 (302-297-287=872)
7. Michigan State: +40 (307-302-295=904)
8. Mie Chukyo: +31 (307-300-314=921)
9. Kwansei Gakuin: +67 (307-317-307=931)10. Osaka Gakuin: +47 (308-315-310=933)
2. Richard Lee, -7, 209 (73-70-66)
T8. Nick Taylor, -1, 215 (73-69-73)
T12. Darren Wallace, +2, 218 (77-71-70)
T14. Chris Killmer, +3, 219 (77-69-72)
T14. Tze Huang Choo, +4, 220 (73-74-73)