Taylor Ties For NCAA Runner-Up Honors, Huskies Finish Seventh

May 31, 2008

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Washington sophomore Nick Taylor fired a final-round score of 3-over 75 to finish in a tie for runner-up honors at the NCAA Div. I Men's Golf Championships held at Purdue's Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex, Saturday. Taylor, who led the Huskies to a seventh-place team finish, completed the 72-hole tournament at 1-over 289, just three shots behind NCAA champion Kevin Chappell from UCLA (2-under 286).

Washington moved up two spots on the team leaderboard during the final round, carding an 18-over 306 to finish the tournament at 56-over 1208. It marks the fourth top-10 NCAA finish for the Huskies in the last five years.

'When you consider that just a few weeks ago we were wondering whether or not we'd even get into the regional, and now we're in the top seven in the country, that's just amazing,' Husky head coach Matt Thurmond said. 'It was fun to play this week without many expectations. We felt great to be here and we knew could play really well and do what we did, if not more. But we didn't feel like we had pressure to do so. I'm just really proud of the guys and the way they competed, the poise they showed.'

The story for UW was the play of Taylor, finishing the day tied with Indiana's Jorge Campillo for NCAA runner-up honors. Taylor's fourth-round score was one shot better than Chappell's and his second-round score of 6-under 66 remained as the tournament low.

Taylor is the third Husky in UW history to finish second or higher at the NCAA Championships, and second to do so in the last four years. James Lepp, who hails from the same hometown of Abbotsford, B.C., as Taylor, won a NCAA title in 2005 and Troy Kelly finished as the NCAA runner-up in 1999.

'It feels really good,' Taylor said of his second-place national finish. 'I played pretty good for most of the day. I hit the ball really well. It was tough out there today to get close to the hole and really have any chance to birdie. It even got more difficult with the wind and standing above the ball, not knowing if the wind is going to effect it or not. I was proud of how I played. I didn't think I'd be that close to Kevin (Chappell) in the end, but I played really well today and I'm happy with the way I finished.'

Taylor's final round saw him sink one birdie and four bogeys on what many thought was the most difficult day in terms of the windy conditions on the course. The average fourth-round score was 78.19.

'Nick's the main reason we finished in the top-10 as a team,' Thurmond said. 'He was absolutely awesome in the postseason. To have a guy finish second at regionals and nationals, what more can you ask for?'

Also finishing in the top-25 was senior Zach Bixler who tied for 23rd at 15-over 303 in his final tournament as a Husky. Bixler carded a final-round score of 4-over 76. Freshman Tze Huang Choo tied for 55th at 22-over 310 with a 6-over 78 on Saturday. Rounding out the UW lineup were sophomore Darren Wallace who tied for 64th (25-over 313) and junior John Wise finished 78th (35-over 323).

The Pac-10 ended up dominating the NCAA Championships, with four of the top seven teams hailing from the Conference of Champions. Just three shots separated the top three teams. UCLA (42-over 1194) edged Stanford (43-over 1195) for the title, while USC came in third place (44-over 1196).

The future bodes well for the Huskies who will return four of their five players that competed at the NCAA Championships, including Taylor. All four of those Huskies were making their first-ever NCAA Championship appearances in West Lafayette this week.

Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex; West Lafayette, Ind.
Par 72; 7,450 yards

Final Team Leaderboard
1. UCLA 297-293-298-306-1194 (+42)
2. Stanford 309-288-296-302-1195 (+43)
3. USC 297-294-300-305-1196 (+44)
4. Oklahoma State 298-296-301-305-1200 (+48)
5. Clemson 301-288-302-310-1201 (+49)
6. Kent State 301-297-302-304-1204 (+52)
7. Washington 305-290-307-306-1208 (+56)
8. Charlotte 306-295-306-303-1210 (+58)
8. Georgia 303-293-305-309-1210 (+58)
10. Louisville 311-296-300-306-1213 (+61)
11. Florida 302-291-306-315-1214 (+62)
12. Texas A&M 309-294-306-307-1216 (+64)
13. Alabama 309-297-297-315-1218 (+66)
14. San Diego State 310-303-294-315-1222 (+70)
15. Middle Tennessee State 309-293-311-312-1225 (+73)

Final Round - Top Five Individuals
1. Kevin Chappell, UCLA 69-73-68-76-286 (-2)
2. Jorge Campillo, Indiana 75-70-72-72-289 (+1)
2. Nick Taylor, Washington 75-66-73-75-289 (+1)
4. Rickie Fowler, Oklahoma State 74-77-70-73-294 (+6)
4. Sihwan Kim, Stanford 77-72-74-71-294 (+6)

Washington Results
T2. Nick Taylor 75-66-73-75-289 (+1)
T23. Zach Bixler 74-76-77-76-303 (+15)
T55. Tze Huang Choo 84-72-76-78-310 (+22)
T64. Darren Wallace 79-76-81-77-313 (+25)
78. John Wise 77-79-82-85-323 (+35)

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