WAIKOLOA, Hawai’i – No. 19 Washington began the spring season at the Amer Ari Invitational with a hot start, but did not make enough birdies over the final holes and are in the middle of the pack after round one. The Dawgs finished at 8-under 280 as a team on a great day for scoring and sit in a tie for 10th.
“It wasn’t a great round for us overall,” said head coach Matt Thurmond. “We didn’t finish as well because we missed a lot of short putts. The greens are grainier than we are used to, but we need to be better than that.
The Dawgs blistered out of the gate and were near the lead as both Cheng-Tsung Pan and Gerrit Chambers each made four early birdies. Chambers led the Dawgs, getting to 4-under after birdies on 6, his opening hole, 8, 10 and 17. The only blemish on his card was a bogey at 4, but still his 3-under 69 that is good for a tie for 21st.
Pan, who began on the fourth hole, birdied 5, 6, 7 and 10, before three bogeys on the final six holes brought him back to 2-under 70. Pan is currently tied for 32nd.
Also playing well was Corey Pereira who did not have a hot start, but finished best amongst the Dawgs. He shot a 3-under 69 and is in the tie for 21st with Chambers. Pereira also began on the sixth hole and was over par after a bogey on 10, but then rebounded to birdie 11, 16, 18 and 4.
The final scoring golfer for the Dawgs was Trevor Simsby who shot a round of even-par 72. Simsby was had a bit of an up and down round with three birdies and three bogeys and is tied for 63rd.
Overall, Washington is tied for 10th, nine strokes back of first-round leader Oklahoma State. The Cowboys fired a round of 17-under 271 and have a one-stroke lead on TCU.
It was a great day for scoring as 17 of the 20 teams finished under par.
“It was mild from a wind standpoint, so that led to low scoring,” said Thurmond. “The course is great, but played a little softer than normal.”
The best round of the day went to Chris Babcock who was playing as an individual. Babcock fired a round of 5-under 67 and is tied for seventh, just three strokes off the overall lead. Babcock made six birdies, before bogeying 15.
Thomas Lim of Oregon holds the individual lead at 8-under, one stroke better than Rico Hoey of USC. Four players are tied at 6-under, before the group of seven that includes Babcock.
Also competing for the Dawgs were Jonathan Sanders and Kevin Kwon, each who shot 2-over 74 and are tied for 93rd. Sanders looks to bounce back and help the team in the second round, while Kwon is also playing as an individual.
Washington will be back at it on Friday for the second round that tees off at 9:30, PST. The Dawgs will begin on holes 7,8 and 9, playing with UCLA, Arizona State and Auburn.