March 29, 2006
Washington men's golfer Alex Prugh had a great trip to the Arizona desert last weekend, finishing in a tie for second with teammate Erik Olson at the National Invitational in Tucson. Prugh carded a 5-under 211 and recorded his third top-10 finish of the season.
GoHuskies.com took a moment to talk with the junior about the trip, his teammates and his goals for the remainder of the season.
Here's what Alex had to say:
GoHuskies.com: You had an impressive performance last weekend, finishing a stroke off the lead. You had a great first round, shooting 4-under 68, but fell back a little bit in the second round (shooting 1-over 73) before finishing strong with a 70. Tell us a little bit about it.
Alex Prugh: "In the first round I was hitting the ball really well, but I didn't make a whole lot of putts. I could've been a few more shots under-par. I tried to bring that momentum into the next round but it didn't really happen - I didn't give myself many opportunities. Then the third round was kind of a typical round. I made a couple of birdies early, but made a couple of bogeys right after that. I also made a bogey and birdie down the stretch. I personally didn't think I was going to finish as high as second with how well the field was playing."
GH.com: Coach Thurmond mentioned after the round that almost every time you bogeyed you followed it with a birdie, and he said that's the sign of a good player. Were you conscious of the fact that you were following your bogeys with birdies?
Prugh: "After looking at all my stats after the round I noticed that I had made a bunch of birdies after bogeys. I guess I just gave myself pep talks and whatnot, and re-geared my mindset to get those strokes back."
GH.com: Did you have any idea that Erik was making the charge that he did to end up tied with you for second place?
Prugh: "No, actually I had no idea, even though I was playing right behind him. I saw him make some putts throughout the round and I never saw him in bad places. I knew he was playing pretty well, but for the most part I didn't have any clue what he was shooting."
GH.com: You had two freshmen (Kellen Eakin and John Wise) with you in Arizona, playing in their first varsity tournament. What was it like having them along on the trip?
Prugh: "They definitely brought really good, positive attitudes to the event. They were really excited and it was good to get those young guys some experience."
GH.com: Your brother (Corey Prugh) played at the UW and your dad is a golf professional. Tell us a little bit about golf and the role it played in your life as you grew up.
Prugh: "Since my dad is a head professional at a course, he's been my coach my whole life. My whole family - except for my mom - we all started playing golf when we were about four or five. So golf obviously has been a pretty big part of our lives. Coming to college, with my brother already at UW - that was a big influence because we're pretty close friends. He was a big influence on me coming to Washington."
GH.com: We hear that Corey is currently playing on the Gateway Tour. How is he doing?
Prugh: "It's his first season, so he has to get his feet wet. He's made some cuts and he's missed some. He actually made a cut today, so he's making his way."
GH.com: You've had a great season overall, leading the team in five tournaments. Do you feel like you've been on a little bit of a roll this year, or been more consistent?
Prugh: "Yeah, I do feel like I've been more consistent. I had a pretty good summer last year, winning a couple of tournaments (the 2005 Pacific Coast Amateur and the Washington State Amateur), so I realized that I can play with anybody and that I should be at the top of the leader board every time. So I've been going into every tournament with that mindset. I try not to think about what other people are doing. If I play my own game I know I can finish in the top 10 every time."
GH.com: Does it give you confidence knowing that you play alongside Erik Olson, the 2005 Pac-10 Champion, and James Lepp, the 2005 NCAA Champion, and knowing that you can play at their level?
Prugh: "Yes, it does. I play next to Erik and James all the time, and I see the level of game that they have, and I feel I am right there with them. We feed off of each other. Basically it has helped me realize that I can win tournaments and play at that level."
GH.com: You finished fifth at the Fall Preview at Crosswater, where the NCAA Championships are going to be played. Do you like that course?
Prugh: "I do like that course. I've played there a bunch of times, starting when it first opened. The summer after my freshman year I had some success there at a U.S. Open qualifier. I ended up losing in a playoff that would have sent me to the U.S. Open. It's just one of those courses I feel comfortable playing. It's a big course, but for the most part I've been a good ball-striker, so it kind of fits my game. "
GH.com: What are your goals for the rest of the season?
Prugh: "We have five tournaments left and I'd like to win at least one of them. Obviously I want to help our team defend the Pac-10 Championship and make it to the NCAA Championships for the eighth-straight year. And hopefully I'll get a chance to play for the NCAA title at Crosswater."
GH.com: We've heard you're an avid tennis player. How's your game on the hard court?
Prugh: "I'm more of a recreational tennis player, really. My girlfriend and I go out and play maybe once a week. We just go and hit the ball around. But I'd say my game is improving."
GH.com: Have you played against any of the other guys on the team?
Prugh: "My freshman year we had a couple of guys who played tennis. Now, maybe our coaches play for fun, but the rest of the guys are mostly into basketball."