Washington Lengthens Lead in Tourney Action
April 28, 2009
SEATTLE -- Washington junior Darren Wallace came within a stroke of the Seattle Golf Course club record during the second day of the Pac-10 Tournament Tuesday, lengthening his - and his school's - lead over the competition with 18 holes left to play.
Five Husky golfers shot a combined 347 on 18 holes to retain their lead from Monday. Oregon shot 350 to finish seven strokes back, while defending Pac-10 champion Arizona State improved to finish a distant third, 21 strokes behind the leader. Stanford and Oregon State are tied for fourth.
Wallace had a chance to tie the course record, a 64, on his final hole of the day, but missed his putt for birdie to finish at 7-under 65. Still, the junior from British Columbia, who has birdied three or more holes in a row both days of the tournament, said he's pleased with how he's played so far.
'To get off to a good start and make a couple pars early and a birdie on two was really big for me,' Wallace said. 'I haven't been in this position too often, and I think I used it to my advantage - got off to a good start and played well, which was important to me, because with that pressure, if I would have had a bad start, it could have turned around quickly for me.'
As a group, the Huskies did not get off to the good start that Wallace did. Two Washington players double-bogeyed the first hole and struggled on the front nine, allowing Oregon to take an early round lead.
'You're trying to come out loose, you're trying to get off to a good start and Oregon's burning every hole and we're making doubles,' UW coach Matt Thurmond said.
As Washington regrouped, OU freshman Eugene Wong birdied four in a row to take the individual lead. But Oregon withered on the 16th hole, recording two double bogeys and a triple bogey from Wong.
Wallace finished with a combined total of 207 (70-72-65). Cal's John Murphy, who led after the first 18 holes of the tournament, trails Wallace by five after shooting a 69 (69-74-69). One stroke behind Murphy are Washington junior Nick Taylor (76-70-67) and Oregon freshman Daniel Miernicki (74-69-70).
Washington finished solidly on the back nine, carding an eagle from sophomore Tze Huang Choo on the 18th hole, his second of the tournament.
'We just kind of hung in there and got a few birdies and got it back to even par and finished the front nine pretty well and tore it up on the back nine,' Thurmond said. 'All day long we were chasing Oregon. They really did so well. It was good to have somebody to chase. We come into lead, it's easy to be tight, to be careful. And they just punched us in the mouth and we had to kind of chase them, which is a good place to be in.'
The final round of Pac-10 play gets underway Wednesday at 8 a.m. OU coach Casey Martin believes his team could come from behind to challenge Washington.
'We're just a young team - four freshman and two sophomores,' Martin said. 'I think we're the youngest team in the nation. We've had some ups and downs, but when we've played well we've been able to win some tournaments and it's going to take a great effort tomorrow, but we're in the hunt.'