WAIKOLOA, Hawai’i – No. 19 Washington finished off a good week at the Amer Ari Invitational on the Big Island of Hawai’i with a round of 9-under 279 to finish as the tournament runner-up. The Dawgs three-day total of 33-under 831 trailed only No. 3 Oklahoma State who was victorious at 45-under.
“I am pleased with the result,” said head coach Matt Thurmond, “33-under is a crazy low score. The thing that I liked the best was we were in contention and we started well and competed. We maintained the round early on and then after we made some big numbers, we battle back and finished strong.”
“We are always trying to win, but this was a national championship caliber field so I am pleased with second place.”
The Dawgs entered the day in third place, but shot amongst the best rounds of the day other than Oklahoma State who extended their lead with a final-round best of 17-under. The Huskies were within a couple strokes midway through the round, before the Cowboys got hot over the final few holes. Still, Washington was comfortably second, four strokes better than Oregon and TCU who tied for third.
Washington’s top finisher on Friday was Corey Pereira who bounced back from a subpar round to shoot a 5-under 67. Pereira birdied his first three holes and was at 4-under before a double-bogey at 16. However, the freshman bounced back beautifully from his only mishap, birdieing 17 and then eagleing 18 for his lowest collegiate round. Pereira finished at 6-under 210 for the tournament, finishing in a tie for 30th.
For the week, the Dawgs top finisher was Cheng-Tsung Pan who finished in a tie for 20th. Pan actually had his score thrown out on Friday with a 1-over 73. Still, he finished the weekend at 8-under 208 and showed the depth of the Husky team to be able to withstand a subpar round from their leader.
“I think it is remarkable that nobody finished better than 20th as an individual and we were still second as a team,” said Thurmond. “It really showed how everyone on the team contributed.”
The Dawgs to individual finisher was Chris Babcock, although his scores did not count towards the team competition as he was playing as an individual. Babcock was solid all week, finishing the final round with a score of 3-under 69. The Husky sophomore earned his second career top-10 and the most impressive result of his young career, finishing tied for ninth.
“Chris is really getting better, said Thurmond. “It was great to see him go out and play as the low individual.”
Two other Huskies had top-25 finishes, completing the week at 7-under 209. Trevor Simsby fired a round of 3-under 69 to get into a tie for 24th with teammate Gerrit Chambers who had a final-round of even-par 72.
The final scorer for Washington on Friday was Jonathan Sanders with a round of 1-under 71. Sanders finished the week even par in a tie for 64th.
Finally, freshman Kevin Kwon finshed in a tie for 56th at 1-under, also playing as an individual. Kwon shot a final round of 2-over 74.
The Dawgs will be right back at it against another elite field next weekend at The Prestige at PGA West down in Palm Desert. Washington will open that tournament on Monday, February 17 for the three-day, 54-hole event.