Men's Golf Looks For Another Strong Campaign in 2021-22
PULLMAN, Wash. – The Washington State men's golf team looks to build off a strong spring campaign a season ago, as the Cougars prepare for year six under the direction of WSU alumni Dustin White.
WSU was limited to only six spring tournaments during the 2020-21 season, as the NCAA canceled fall competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Washington State posted a pair of top-10 team finishes in the spring and saw its GolfStat ranking improve by 79 spots by the end of the 2020-21 season, as they finished the season ranked 98th in the country.
"The team is very excited to get the season started, they've been looking forward to it for a while," said White. "I felt like we did a really nice job in the spring and we're getting a lot of those guys back for the fall. Qualifying has been going good and we're looking forward to getting on the road and facing other teams."
Washington State returns six golfers who played in tournaments this past spring, led by redshirt senior Max Sekulic. The Rycroft, Alberta native returns a team-best 73.63 stroke average from a season ago. It's been an extremely successful summer for Sekulic, as he won both the Canadian Amateur Championship and the Northwest Open Championship. He also qualified for the 121st U.S. Amateur Championship this past August.
"The guys are meshing really well," White expressed. "We had two golfers that left who were really good players and teammates. We've had some guys step up into that leadership role and Max has been one of them. He had a fantastic summer by winning the Canadian Amateur and the Northwest Open, then playing in the U.S. Amateur. He is really looking forward to another year of collegiate golf."
Despite Sekulic being the lone senior on the roster, WSU will not lack experience. The WSU roster features six players with collegiate golf experience, led by junior Pono Yanagi who has played in 11 tournaments in his career for Washington State. Junior Yuya Eguchi has played in a total of seven tournaments during his Cougar career.
Sophomores Preston Bebich, Jaden Cantafio and Nate Plaster also return to the fold for the Cougs. All three played in at least two tournaments for WSU as true freshmen last season, while Bebich and Cantafio were each in Washington State's lineup at the 2021 Pac-12 Men's Golf Championship. Redshirt sophomore Tianyu Wu is also back in action for WSU after sitting out last spring.
Washington State welcomes in four newcomers to the program this season, as sophomore Drayton Joseph and freshmen Peter Jung, Franklin Lydra and Yuze Zhang well be making their Coug debuts this fall.
"Our young guys learned a lot last year and now know what to expect coming into this year," stated White. "The new guys are really pushing the returners and the more that happens, the more success we will have this year. It's been a lot of fun to be around the team and I'm looking forward to seeing what they can do."
WSU returns to a full slate of tournaments in 2021-22 after being limited to just six spring tournaments a season ago. The Cougars will play in five tournaments this fall, then play in six spring tournaments, conclude with the 2022 Pac-12 Men's Golf Championship at the Aldarra Golf Club in Sammamish, Washington, April 25-27. The season gets underway Sept. 20-21 at the Husky Invitational at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Washington.
"We know where we want to end up in May, but the more we're focused on that, the more we may distract ourselves," said White, "In golf, there is only so much you can control, and we're focused on controlling what we can and ourselves. If we do that and play hard, when April and May roll around, we've got a good chance to be where we want to be."
For more information on the Washington State men's golf team, follow @WSUCougarMGolf on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.