Bixler Leads Huskies In Opening Round of NCAA's

May 28, 2008

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Senior Zach Bixler shot a 2-over 74 to lead Washington during the first round of the NCAA Div. I Men's Golf Championships hosted by Purdue at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex, Wednesday.

The Huskies carded an opening round score of 17-over 305 and turned in the third-lowest score among the teams that teed off in the morning wave, behind just Kent State (13-over 301) and Illinois (14-over 302). The teams in the afternoon wave are currently competing. Live scoring and results are available by clicking here.

Despite battling cold morning temperatures and wind, UW made its tournament debut in strong fashion. Junior John Wise was even through nine holes, while Bixler and sophomore Nick Taylor were both 1-over at the turn. But the Huskies weren't able to continue that momentum down the stretch on the back nine.

'We got off to a great start,' UW head coach Matt Thurmond said. 'Conditions were really difficult and we were just awesome in the first nine. Even early in the second nine - we thought the toughest holes were 11, 12 and 13 - we played really well. And then...this course just keeps coming at you. In the last two holes we played terribly. But all in all, it was a pretty decent day. It's tough because we could have really had a great day if we had finished better.'

Bixler, the only Husky with any previous NCAA Championship experience, paced his younger teammates during the first round in steady fashion. The Richland, Wash., native finished the front nine 1-over par and the back nine 1-over par. He turned in two birdies on the back nine - on the 14th and 16th holes.

'Zach just played awesome,' Thurmond said. 'He makes a few putts and he shoots under par out there today. We're real proud of him, that's what you look for from your senior. Everyone is nervous on the first day at the NCAA Championships and your senior goes out there and leads the team, that's great.'

Taylor was just behind Bixler, carding a 3-over 75. Taylor excelled on the front nine, sinking birdies on the sixth and eighth holes. Wise finished the day with a 5-over 77. Sophomore Darren Wallace carded a 7-over 79 and freshman Tze Huang Choo struggled with a 12-over 84.

The Huskies will continue NCAA Championship play with second round action Thursday. UW will start from the 10th tee at 12:59 p.m. with first round partners St. Mary's and Arizona State. The third round will be held Friday with pairings based on teams' 36-hole scores. From there, the 30-team field will be cut to 15 for Saturday's final round.

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