May 26, 2006
Thanks to a third place finish at the West Regional, the 22nd-ranked Washington men's golf team has advanced to the NCAA Men's Golf Championship. The event, hosted by the University of Portland, will be held at the Crosswater Club in Sunriver, Ore., May 31-June 3.
The 2006 NCAA Championship features 30 teams and the nation's top six individuals not on those teams. All 156 players will compete on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday while Saturday's final round is cut to the top 15 teams and top six individuals not on an advancing team. For the Championship, Crosswater will play as a par-72 at 7,630 yards. The tournament features 18 holes of play on each date starting at 7:30 a.m. PT. Participants will play in threesomes during the competition. Teams participating in the NCAA Championships shall consist of a maximum of five players (with four scores counting each day toward the team total). Split tees (#1 and #10) will be used during each round. Team and individual ties shall be broken in accordance with NCAA rules.
The Huskies have been named the 18th seed and will be paired with Wake Forest and Northwestern during the first and second rounds. That group will tee off from the first tee starting at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday and from the 10th tee on Thursday beginning at 12:42 p.m.
Results and Live Stats
Live scoring for the NCAA Championship will be available at www.golfstat.com.
Washington coach Matt Thurmond's lineup for the NCAA Championship is: senior James Lepp (Abbotsford, B.C.), junior Alex Prugh (Spokane, Wash.), junior Erik Olson (Renton, Wash.), sophomore Zach Bixler (Richland, Wash.) and sophomore Sterling Clark (Salt Lake City, Utah).
Washington has advanced to the NCAA Championship in each of the last eight seasons, a streak matched by just four other Division I programs. UW's top team and individual finishes at the Championship came last year, when the Huskies placed third and James Lepp won the individual championship. Washington battled rain and the competition through three rounds of the 2005 NCAA Championship at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md. When the rain let up in round four, Lepp broke through the field, rallying from a six-shot deficit with a course-record 7-under 63 to force a playoff with Pepperdine's Michael Putnam. Lepp then saved par on the third playoff hole, sinking a three-foot putt to win medalist honors.
Huskies Finish Third at West Regional
The Washington men's golf team turned in third-best single round in Husky history on the third and final day of the NCAA West Regional, shooting a scorching 17-under 271 in Tucson, Ariz. The UW's round was the best by any team in any round at what was a generally low-scoring event, and catapulted the Huskies from ninth place to third.. The Huskies' 54-hole total of 24-under 840 was a season best. All five Huskies finished the final round under par and four of the five UW golfers shot rounds in the 60s.
"What a great day," said Washington head coach Matt Thurmond. "To shoot the low round of the tournament on the last day when your whole year is on the line, that just says a lot about the kind of guys we have on this team. Starting the day on the bubble and shooting the best round in the tournament is amazing."
UW's Zach Bixler continued his excellence on day three, shooting a season-best 5-under 67 to finish third in the 141-man field at 12-under 204. Bixler's third-place finish established a new career best, as did his 54-hole total of 204. The sophomore's round included seven birdies (holes one, five, eight, 10, 11, 13 and 16) and two bogeys. Bixler shot in the 60s on all three days of the tournament (69-68-67) and has shot rounds in the 60s in five of seven postseason rounds (including rounds one and three of the Pac-10 Championship).
Bixler was not the hottest Husky in the third round, however, as junior Alex Prugh shot a bogey-free 6-under 66 that included four birdies and an eagle on the par-5 eighth hole. Prugh finished the tournament in 32nd place at 4-under 212. James Lepp held second position for the Huskies, shooting 3-under 69 for the second day in a row to place 18th at 7-under 209, a season best. Erik Olson also shot 69 and placed 57th at 1-under 215 for the tournament. Sterling Clark's 1-under 71 slotted him 99th at 7-over 223.
Huskies Place Second at Pac-10s
The Huskies finished second at the 47th Pac-10 Championship, carding a final-round 12-over 367 for a total score of 12-over 1432. UCLA won the title with an even-par 1420 after shooting 6-over 361 in round four.
Washington's Erik Olson, the 2005 Pac-10 Individual Champion, placed in the Top-5 for the second-straight year, shooting 1-under 70 in the final round to finish third at 3-under 281. Joining him in the Top-10 was 2005 NCAA Champion James Lepp, who placed eighth at even-par 284 after shooting 1-over 72 on the afternoon.
Alex Prugh and Zach Bixler joined Olson and Lepp in the Top-20. Prugh shot 3-over 74 in the fourth round, good for a total score of 4-over 288 and 14th place in the field. Bixler shot 7-over 78 on the day and finished 17th at 6-over 290. Sterling Clark carded a 2-over 73 in the final round and placed 35th at 13-over 297. Joe Panzeri's 7-over 78 put him in 40th at 16-over 300.
Washington junior men's golfer Alex Prugh was named to the Pac-10 All-Conference first team in voting by the Pac-10 men's golf coaches. Senior James Lepp was named to the second team, while junior Erik Olson received honorable mention honors.
A native of Spokane, Wash., Prugh led UW in seven tournaments this season, recording four Top-10 finishes. He placed second at the Gopher Invitational and the National Invitational, while taking fifth at the PING/Golfweek Fall Preview and sixth at the U.S. Intercollegiate. Prugh placed 14th at the 2006 Pac-10 Championships, shooting a first-round 6-under 65 that established a new career-best for a single round.
Lepp, from Abbotsford, B.C., has recorded three Top-10 finishes this season and has a 73.06 scoring average, second best on the team. He was an All-Pac-10 first-team selection in 2005.
Olson, a junior from Renton, Wash, has a scoring average of 73.27 on the season with three Top-10 finishes. Olson was a Pac-10 first-team All-Conference pick in 2005.
Alex Prugh leads the Huskies with four top-10 finishes this season. The junior finished second at the Gopher Invitational, fifth at the PING/Golfweek Fall Preview, second at the National Invitational and sixth at the U.S. Intercollegiate. He has been the UW's top finisher in seven of the 12 varsity events the Huskies have competed in this season. James Lepp and Erik Olson have each recorded three top-10 finishes. Lepp finished second at the Big Ten/Pac-10 Challenge, ninth at the Fall Preview, and eighth at the Pac-10 Championship while Olson took 10th at the Gopher Invitational, second at the National Invitational and third at the Pac-10 Championship. Zach Bixler has also recorded a top-10 finish at a major tournament, placing third at the NCAA West Regional.
Thumbing Through the Record Book
Were the season to end today, Alex Prugh's 72.19 scoring average would stand as the fifth best single-season mark in Husky history. James Lepp's current mark of 72.78 would be good for 10th, while Erik Olson's 73.14 would be 13th. Prugh's four top-10 finishes this season are one shy of ninth place in Washington annals. With nine career top-10 finishes, Prugh and Lepp rank seventh in Husky history. Erik Olson (8) dents the record books in 11th place. James Lepp's two medalist honors (at the Duck Invitational and NCAA Championships, both last season) are third most in Husky history, while Erik Olson (2005 Pac-10 Championship) and Joe Panzeri (2006 Duck Invitational) are tied for seventh with one each.
Player bios and statistics can be found in the PDF linked at the top of this release.