Washington Seeks to Defend Pac-10 Team and Individual Titles

April 19, 2006

Seattle - The 30th-ranked Washington men's golf team travels to Palm Desert, Calif., April 24-26 to defend its conference crown at the 47th Pac-10 Championships. Hosted by USC, the event will be played at the par-71, 7,009-yard Big Horn Country Club.

The Huskies took home the team trophy in 2005 with a remarkable rally, rising from last place after the first round to win the event. The Dawgs trailed Arizona State by 17 strokes entering the final round, but shot 350 - the second-lowest round of the tournament - to tie the Sun Devils. Washington won the tie-breaker by posting the lowest six-man team score in the final round. Leading the Husky comeback was Erik Olson, who rallied from four strokes down entering the final round to earn individual medalist honors. The win marked his first tournament victory at the collegiate level.

The format for the 72-hole Championship includes two rounds on Monday, the third round on Tuesday, and the final round on Wednesday. The starting time for each day of competition is 7:30 a.m. Per a blind draw by conference officials, Washington has been paired with Stanford for the first round, and will tee off from the 10th tee beginning at 8:38 a.m. on Monday. The Pac-10 Championship features six-man rosters with the five best scores counting during each round.

Washington is one of five Pac-10 teams ranked in Golfweek's current Top-30 poll. UCLA is No. 5, followed by Arizona State at No. 7, USC at No. 20, Arizona at No. 26, and Washington at No. 30.

Live scoring will for the tournament will be available at golfstat.com

Noting the Huskies

Pac-10 History
Washington has won four Pac-10 titles (1961, '63, '88, 2005) and had three individual medalists (Clint Names - 1961, O.D. Vincent - 1988, Erik Olson - 2005). The Huskies have had at least one individual finish in the Top 10 at each of the last five Pac-10 Championships and had three in 2005 alone (Olson - 1st, Alex Prugh - 10th, James Lepp - 10th). Lepp and Olson were first team All-Pac-10 selections in 2005, while Prugh was named to the second team and Zach Bixler received honorable mention honors. Husky head coach Matt Thurmond was tabbed as the 2005 Pac-10 Coach of the Year.

Starting With a Bang
The Huskies got the 2005-06 season off to a quick start, finishing in a tie for first with host Minnesota at the season-opening Gopher Invitational in September. Minnesota won the tiebreaker between the two teams - counting the number five player's scores - to claim the championship trophy. Trailing by as many as 15 strokes during the final round, the Huskies got hot on the back nine, with Washington's four scoring players combining to shoot 6-under on the back half. The Dawgs' final-round 1-under 287 was the lowest single-round score posted during the 54-hole tournament. The Huskies and Gophers finished at 19-over 883. Washington juniors Alex Prugh and Erik Olson both recorded Top 10 finishes at the event, with Prugh tying for second place and Olson placing 10th.

Panzeri Wins Medalist Honors at Duck Invitational
Joe Panzeri is the only Husky with an individual victory under his belt in 2005-06, having earned medalist honors at the Duck Invitational. Competing as an individual (five other Huskies were competing as a team at the National Invitational the same weekend), Panzeri shot a career-best 6-under 66 in the third and final round to finish the tournament at a career-low 5-under 211 and share top billing with Washington State's Ryan Witz. The victory was the first of Panzeri's career. Panzeri's win marked the second straight year that a Husky has been the medalist at the Duck Invitational and the third time in the last four years, as James Lepp took top honors in 2005 while Brock Mackenzie shared first place in 2003.

Top-10 List
Alex Prugh leads the Huskies with four top-10 finishes this season. The junior from Spokane, Wash., finished second at the Gopher Invitational, fifth at the PING/Golfweek Fall Preview, second at the National Invitational and sixth at the U.S. Intercollegiate. He has been the UW's top finisher in seven of the 11 varsity events the Huskies have competed in this season. James Lepp and Erik Olson have each recorded a pair of top-10 finishes. Lepp finished second at the Big Ten/Pac-10 Challenge and ninth at the Fall Preview, while Olson took 10th at the Gopher Invitational and second at the National Invitational.

Thumbing Through the Record Book
Were the season to end today, Alex Prugh's 72.38 scoring average would stand as the fifth best single-season mark in Husky history. James Lepp's current mark of 73.34 would be good for 17th. Prugh's four top-10 finishes this season are one shy of ninth place in Washington annals. With nine career top-10 finishes, Prugh ranks seventh in Husky history. Lepp (8) ranks 10th, while Erik Olson (7) dents the record books in 12th place. James Lepp's two medalist honors (at the Duck Invitational and NCAA Championships, both last season) are third most in Husky history, while Erik Olson (2005 Pac-10 Championship) and Joe Panzeri (2006 Duck Invitational) are tied for seventh with one each.

Following Up `05

The Huskies have a lot of work to do if they want to duplicate the magical postseason run they enjoyed in 2005. The hardware collection began when the Huskies took home the Pac-10 Championship trophy, winning the team title despite finding themselves in last place after the first round. The Huskies were able to make up the difference by shooting a final round 350, the second best single-round score of the tournament. Leading the comeback was Erik Olson, who finished the tournament eight-under-par to become the first purple and gold Pac-10 medalist since O.D. Vincent won the title in 1988. The spoils for the Huskies' first conference title since 1988 included Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors for head coach Matt Thurmond, first-team All-Pac-10 honors for Olson and James Lepp, second-team recognition for Alex Prugh, and an honorable mention nod for Zach Bixler. But the season's highlights were far from over. By taking third place at the NCAA West Regional, Washington qualified for its seventh straight trip to the NCAA Championships, a streak currently matched by just four other programs. The Huskies battled rain and the competition through three rounds of the NCAA Championship at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md. When the rain let up in round four, Lepp broke through the field, rallying from a six-shot deficit with a course-record 7-under 63 to force a playoff with Pepperdine's Michael Putnam. Lepp then saved par on the third playoff hole, sinking a three-foot putt to take home the title. Led by the first team All-American's furious charge, Washington placed third as a team, the best finish in the program's history.

The Rankings
Golfweek GolfStat
Washington 30th 38th
Alex Prugh 25th 51st
James Lepp 79th

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