NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – No. 12 Washington is off to a solid start at the Gifford Collegiate, played at the Pelican Hill North Course on the shores of Newport Beach. The Dawgs are currently fifth after rounds of 3-under 277 and 4-over 281 on Monday. Washington is 10 shots out of the lead set by top-ranked Alabama, but just one stroke out of a tie for third.
The Dawgs got off to a hot start in the morning, led by a 4-under 66 from Trevor Simsby. Washington was tied for second just two shots behind the Crimson Tide after the morning round.
“It was a great first round,” said head coach Matt Thurmond. “Trevor led us with an outstanding round and Pan was solid.”
Simsby is tied for seventh after 36 holes, backing up his 66 with a round of 1-over 71. His two-round total of 3-under is five strokes off the lead set by Harry Higgs of SMU. The Mustangs are one of the two teams 1-stroke better than Washington, along with USC. Northwestern is in second place, three strokes back of Alabama who leads at 9-under.
In the afternoon round, Washington kept four rounds of 71, which Thurmond described as “non-descript”.
“We played OK in the afternoon,” said Thurmond. “The main difference is that we didn’t have anyone go low. It was a fun day to play golf with a great course that firmed up as the day went on. There are a lot of slopes and elevation changes and the wind off the ocean made it a good test.”
The other scores that were kept came from Gerrit Chambers in the morning and Jonathan Sanders in the afternoon. Chambers shot a round of 3-over 73 in the morning and is tied for 37th at 4-over for the tournament. Sanders struggled to a 77 in the morning, but came back to shoot one of the four 71’s in the afternoon. He is tied for 39th at 8-over for the tournament.
The story for the day was Simsby, however. The senior played a near flawless round in the morning with five birdies and just a single bogey, before beginning his round 3-under in the afternoon. He took a bad break on the fourth hole, his 13th, when a drive in the fairway hit a sprinkler head and bounced under a bush. He would go on to double-bogey that hole and finish the final six holes at 4-over.
The Dawgs will be back on the course on Tuesday for the completion of the Gifford Collegiate.
“I think the course sets up well for us,” said Thurmond. “We just need to go out and play well and be a little more aggressive. If we do that, I think we will move up the leaderboard.”