Lee tops Washington lineup for Husky Invitational

Sept. 23, 2008

Bremerton, Wash. -- The University of Washington has assembled another challenging field for Husky Invitational, which is scheduled for Sept. 29-30 at Gold Mountain Golf Course. The first tee times are 8:30 a.m. and the Huskies have a 9 a.m. start.

'I think (the field) is about the same as it's been the past few years,' said Huskies head coach Matt Thurmond. 'The teams are pretty solid, but it's hard to know how good everyone will be because, for some of these teams, it will be their first tournament this year.'

The field will include two teams that placed in last year's top-15 at the NCAA Championships in Washington and San Diego State. Rounding out the competition is BYU, California, UC Davis, Idaho, Oregon, Oregon State, Pacific, Portland and Washington State.

Noteworthy players scheduled to participate next week are BYU's Robbie Fillmore, the winner of the 2008 US Amateur Championship; Washington junior Nick Taylor, who finished runner-up at the NCAA Championship Tournament; San Diego State senior David Palm, an All-American; California sophomore Stephen Hale, a second-team all Pac-10 selection; Evan Derian and George Gandranta, Jr., both Pac-10 honorable mentions.

'I think you'll see a handful of guys play very well,' Thurmond said.

The Huskies will have a fresh face atop their lineup with junior Richard Lee, a Bellevue Community College transfer coming off a fifth-place result in just his first Division 1 tournament a week ago at the Gopher Invitational in Wayzata, Minn.

'I'm so happy for Richard,' Thurmond said. 'He is playing great golf right now and I'm excited to see what he and the rest of the guys can do.'

Junior Nick Taylor (Abbotsford, B.C.) will be UW's second entry, along with freshman Jens Brock (Shorecrest), Darren Wallace (Langley, B.C.) and Chris Killmer (Bellingham). Thurmond believes his lineup to be as solid as he has had in the Husky Invitational -- and to be playing better fall golf than he has seen a Washington team play in recent memory.

'I think we are playing better coming into the tournament this year than the last few years,' he said. 'The guys have really been working hard so far and hitting well.'

Of course, as was the case last year, there is a little more motivation for the home team, as they haven't kept the first-place trophy home in three years. The last time the Dawgs finished atop the Husky Invitational team leader board was 2003. The tournament was not scheduled in 2005 or 2002.

'We haven't won it in the past few years,' Thurmond said. 'We haven't been out of the top three, but we're anxious to get back to the top. The guys really want it.'

But in the end, Thurmond said that this tournament is about playing golf and having fun -- and not just for his team. The visiting teams will travel to Gold Mountain on Saturday for an evening filled with a whiffle ball tournament, ping pong tournament and a barbeque to make the players feel at home.

'It's the ultimate player's tournament,' Thurmond said. 'A lot of tournaments play to the coaches or the fans, but this one is all about the guys having as much fun out here as possible.'

7:30 a.m. (1st tee) BYU, Oregon State, Idaho7:30 a.m. (10th tee) Cal, Oregon, UC Davis8:30 a.m. (1st tee) Washington, San Diego St, Pacific8:30 a.m. (10th tee) Portland, Washington St., Individuals

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