Huskies Take 16 Stroke Lead Into Regional Final
May 21, 2010
BREMERTON, Wash. -- The Washington Husky men's golf team will take a 16 stroke lead into Saturday's final round of the NCAA Men's Golf West Regional, almost certainly assuring the Huskies of their eighth trip to the NCAA Championships in nine seasons under the direction of coach Matt Thurmond. Washington's Darren Wallace leads the entire field at 5-under, while teammate Richard Lee is tied for second at 4-under.
For much of this season Nick Taylor, a finalist for the Ben Hogan Award and the two-time Pac-10 Co-Golfer of the Year, has garnered most of the attention among the No. 1 seeded Huskies. But, so far this week at Gold Mountain Golf Course in Bremerton, it has been Taylor's sometimes forgotten classmates that have propelled Washington to the top of the leaderboard.
"Nick is amazing and he's awesome and he deserves all the attention he gets, but those two guys are really good too," said Thurmond, whose team shot the low round of 283 on Friday. "It's fun to see them duking it out. And to think that we are leading with Nick pretty frustrated and not playing as well as he'd like. It's really great for both of them and I really wanted both of them to play well."
Wallace entered the second round tied for third, but shot a 3-under-par 69 to move to the top of the leaderboard. He started his round with a bogey - his lone scorecard blemish of the day - and had four birdies from then on, including a tap-in putt on No. 18 to give him sole possession of the lead. Even with the lead, Wallace feels like he could have went even lower.
"I was hitting the ball really well," said Wallace. "Unfortunately, I didn't make the same putts that I was making yesterday, so it was kind of a day of `what could have been.' It was still solid. I only had the one bogey on the first hole."
Overall, the Huskies made their big move on the back nine. The team combined to shoot a 7-under over the final nine holes. Lee's four birdies on the back stretch played a big part in the Dawgs late-round success.
"The back nine plays a lot easier than the front. I played really well on the back and so did Wallace. The front stretch is really tough," said Lee, who is tied for second with Denver's Espen Kofstad. "It's nice to see our [team] name up there on the top."
Lee shot a 4-under 68, the low-round of the tournament so far.
Washington was five-under for the day and is -7 for the tournament. With five teams advancing to the NCAA Championships, it will be a dogfight on Saturday for the rest of the field to see who advances. Illinois leads a bunched-up pack and is second at +9, followed by USC and San Diego who are each +10. Oregon State is fifth at +11, followed by Colorado State (+13), Middle Tennessee State (+17), VCU (+19), Eastern Michigan (+21), New Mexico (+24), SMU (+25), Loyola-Maryland (+36) and Fresno State (+44).
Husky freshman Chris Williams is tied for 11th at 1-over-par (145) overall. He shot an even-par 72 on Friday. Taylor is one stroke behind Williams and tied for 18th after shooting a second-round 2-over 74. Charlie Hughes shot a 4-over 76 and is tied for 25th at +4 for the tournament.
The Huskies will tee off from the No. 1 tee starting at 8:40 a.m. on Saturday. Admission to the tournament is free.