Huskies Finish 1st Round of NCAA Golf in 3rd Place
May 30, 2002
Columbus, OH - The Washington men's golf team completed its rain-delayed first round of play at the NCAA Golf Championships at Ohio State's Scarlet Course with a 5-under score of 279 on Thursday morning. The Huskies are in third place overall, two stroke behind top-ranked Georgia Tech and Illinois. Colorado is in fourth place at 4-under.
Husky sophomore Brock Mackenzie (Yakima) shot a 66 to tie Colorado's Ben Portie for the opening round lead.
Washington's first-round ended Wednesday afternoon when heavy rain suspended play with the Huskies on holes 15-17. Washington returned to the course at 7:15 a.m. ET Thursday and finished out its round by paring every hole with the exception of a birdie by junior John Robertson (Olympia) on the par-4 16th hole and a bogie on the par-3 17th hole.
'A good start is always better than a bad start,' says Husky first-year coach Matt Thurmond. 'You have to be happy that all five guys were in it until the end with us throwing out a 72 toward the team score. It was all you could ask for in a first round. With one guy going low and everyone else doing a good job, it was a perfect team round.'
Mackenzie's 66 goes in the Husky record book at the lowest score in postseason competition. He bettered his own mark of a 67 he shot during the final round of this year's West Regional where the Huskies tied New Mexico for first-place honors. His gross score and score vs. par was the fourth best round by a Husky golfer this season.
'He has really stepped up,' Thurmond said. 'He did it at regionals and he did it during the first round here. That's what you hope for from your number one guy, that he would be out front leading the way. To be out leading the tournament, that's even more than you can expect.'
Mackenzie's score was the 14th time this season he has carded a score in the 60s. It was the 24th time in 44 rounds that he has shot under par. His score was one stroke off equaling his career best of a 65 he shot at The Prestige in October. Mackenzie had seven birdies during his round.
Robertson also finished under par for Washington, shooting a 70 during a round that featured two birdies and just one bogie.
As a team, the Huskies had 19 birdies during the first round, including six that were chip shots from off the green. Washington led all Division I teams this season with 696 birdies entering the NCAA Championships according to Golfstat.com.
The Huskies' opening round 279 was their third best first-round score of the season. Washington shot 277 at the Vandal Fall Classic and carded a 276 on the way to winning the Western Intercollegiate. It marked the 17th time this season the Huskies have turned in a single-round team score under par.
'Traditionally this year we haven't started very well,' Thurmond said. 'Our first rounds have been our worst rounds and we've had to come on strong in the middle rounds and in the end. That's what you worry about going into the opening round. You don't want to shoot a big number and get yourself out of it after the first round or the first two rounds.'
Washington's best finish at the NCAA Championships came in 1999 when the Huskies were fourth overall behind Troy Kelley's second-place finish.
The Huskies started their second round at 8:45 a.m. ET. Complete results and live scoring of the NCAA Championships is available at www.Golfstat.com