RALEIGH, N.C. – No. 8 Washington is off to a fast start at the NCAA Raleigh Regional as they look to qualify for the NCAA Championships later this month. The Dawgs are at 10-under, but had the round suspended until Friday due to torrential rain, thunder and lighting.
Washington is four strokes off the lead set by No. 5 Georgia Tech. Playing together the Dawgs and Yellow Jackets are through between 14 and 17 holes. They will finish their round Friday at 6:30 a.m., PT, before heading out on the regularly scheduled second round.
“We played really well today,” said head coach Matt Thurmond. “We started off strong and made a bunch of birdies and not too many bogeys. I was happy with our play, but also shows how well Georgia Tech played. They were exceptional.”
The weather was a bit of a downer as Thurmond would have liked to seen his team finish round one considering their hot play.
“We would have loved to finish," said Thurmond. "Pan was our last guy out there and he was putting on 15 so we were close. It’s amazing with so many hours of sunlight left that they would call it for the day, but that is how much rain is in the forecast. The course is basically under water.”
Although the wet conditions are forecasted into the evening, Friday is expected to be better, allowing the teams to get in the extra holes.
Washington has several players near the lead as the Dawgs and Georgia Tech each have multiple players in contention. Trevor Simsby is tied for second just one stroke back of Richy Werenski of Georgia Tech who holds a slim margin. Simsby is at 4-under through 15 holes, making seven birdies already.
Jonathan Sanders is just one back of Simsby at 3-under in a tie for fifth. Sanders played an even-par front nine, but then got it going on the back with three-straight birdies before play was suspended.
Freshman Corey Pereira is also in the top-10 at 2-under in an 11-way tie for seventh. He had five birdies and three bogeys on the day through 17 holes. Pereira was one of three Huskies on the day to birdie the par-three 14th, something Thurmond marveled at considering a difficult pin placement.
The final Husky in scoring position is Cheng-Tsung Pan at 1-under in a tie for 18th. Pan is off to a steady start, making just one birdie, but also going without a bogey.
Chris Babcock is likely to have his first-round score thrown out as he is 2-over through 17 holes. Babcock was even with a bogey and a birdie until a double-bogey on the difficult par-three 14th that his teammates had so much success with.
The Dawgs will finish their round early Friday, before teeing off the 10th for the second round. Washington needs to finish in the top five to earn a spot at the NCAA Championships, but for now is instead focused on winning the regional.
“This week we are playing to win,” said Thurmond. “We obviously know what is at stake and I think you see that with the intensity and preparation. It’s been more than a regular week.”