Team Effort Propels UW To Season-Opening Win
Sept. 18, 2012
BREMERTON, Wash. -- The fifth-ranked Huskies rallied on the back nine at the Olympic Golf Course at Gold Mountain in Bremerton, Wash. to win the season-opening Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational and Cornhole Championship by nine strokes over Texas A&M on Tuesday.
The host Huskies entered the final round with a six stroke lead, but Texas A&M, who was paired with Washington, mounted a rally on the front nine and tied up the team standings by the turn. Washington was able to gather themselves on the back nine - especially the 14th hole where UW's counting scorers combined to go 2-under, while the Aggies counting scorers were +4 - to hang on and win its tournament for a second-straight year.
"I didn't have any discussion with any of the players about where we stood until maybe the 17th or 18th hole," Husky Coach Matt Thurmond said after his team combined to shoot 1-over 289. "It was really tight and it swung on 14 ... it's done that for us many times here.
"We made a couple birdies, but Texas A&M had a disaster there. That was a big turning point for us."
Washington was the only team to finish under par at -2 overall (283-290-289-862). Texas A&M was second at +7, followed by St. Mary's (+17), UC Davis (+18) and San Diego State (+24).
They both finished four strokes behind their teammate Cheng-Tsung Pan, giving Washington a 1-2-3 finish in the individual competition. Pan struggled with a 4-over 76 on Tuesday, but he entered the round with an eight stroke lead and cruised to his second career collegiate title.
"It couldn't be bigger than this," an elated Pan said after his win. "The first tournament of the year and I won individually and the team won the team title ... it couldn't be better than this and I feel great about our team."
The team definitely stepped it up on Tuesday. On Monday, the Huskies' All-America tandem of Pan and Williams combined to shoot 13-under par, while the other three players were 23-over par. Today, Simsby, Charlie Hughes and Jonathan Sanders were Washington's top three players, while Pan's score did not even count towards the team total despite his individual win.
"Obviously those two guys are top 10 in the world and it's great to have them on the team," stated Simsby, who shot 3-under 69 - one of two rounds from the field of 75 in the 60's. "It's good for Charlie and I to push ourselves because we know that we both can play. We've shown that.
"It was great to see Charlie come back from the early start that he had and I hit the ball well all week. I just had a really nice finish there, but yeah it's great to see us step up early on in the season."
Hughes, a senior from Canada, had a rough start to say the least and was +6 after four holes. After that, he was spectacular.
An eagle on the par-5 sixth hole got things rolling for Hughes and he followed that with a birdie on No. 7. He played par golf for the next six holes before going on an amazing birdie run through one of the tougher stretches on the course.
He birdied four straight holes, starting with No. 14 and finished with a par to end the day at 1-under 71.
"Everybody on the team is really good," said Thurmond. "Trevor and Charlie, today the way they played was just awesome.
"So, you have Pan who wins the tournament and doesn't even count in the final round and Chris was struggling out there with how he felt," continued Thurmond, "those guys carried us and if we can continue to get those kind of performance from Trevor and Charlie ... they are the keys this year. I think we know Pan and Chris are gonna play great and we certainly hope that Trevor and Charlie will play better than ever.
"This is a great start for them."
The Huskies continue their fall season next week at the PING/Golfweek Preview at the Captial Club in Atlanta. It will be the second of five tournaments the Huskies play in before winter.
KIKKOR GOLF HUSKY INVITATIONAL NOTES - Drew Evans of Texas A&M won the Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational individual tournament that was played on the Cascade Course. He shot 5-under 208 to beat Washington's Gerrit Chambers by three shots. The Huskies Larry Iverson tied for fifth, while Tyler Salsbury and Babcock tied for eighth. Kyle Bowser tied for 25th ... Cheng-Tsung Pan teamed with Jonathan Sanders to win the Cornhole Championship on Sunday.