No Williams, No Problem For UW At Pac-12 Preview
Oct. 8, 2012
NORTH PLAINS, Ore. -- No Chris Williams. No problem.
That might not have been the mantra of the Husky men's golf team on Monday at the Pac-12 Preview, but Washington went a long way in proving that even without the No. 1 amateur player in the world they are still a team to be reckoned with.
When play was suspended at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club outside of Portland, Ore. due to darkness, the Huskies found themselves tied for second amongst the ultra-competitive field of Pac-12 teams. More surprisingly, they depended on a freshman making his team competition debut to get them to the top.
Tyler Salsbury, in just his second tournament since joining the Huskies from Enumclaw High School, was leading the 60-person field after firing rounds of 67 and 68 in Monday's first and second rounds. His total of 9-under 135 on the par-72, 7,017-yard Witches Hollow course gives him a narrow one-shot lead over Yi Keun Chang of USC.
"Tyler was beyond impressive today in his first team event," gushed his coach, Matt Thurmond. "He was very comfortable being successful, which is very rare for a freshman.
"He got under par and he just kept going."
The rookie's play went a long way in making up for the loss of the dependable Williams. He led a Husky lineup that combined to shoot 11-under 277 for the morning lead and was at 16 under with three golfers still on the course when the sun set. With Williams returning from Turkey after helping the United States win the World Amateur Team Championship, the third-ranked Huskies wanted to prove they could succeed without their star.
"They know that Chris isn't here and they wanted to play well without him," Thurmond said. "They took a lot of pride in that and really came ready to play this morning. I thought from the very first hole to all the way through the intensity, focus and the preparation was just awesome. It was the kind of day where I could just sit back and watch because they were on top of their games.
"I'm really excited how the team played."
No. 1 ranked California completed the afternoon round and shot 15-under 273 to pass Washington for the lead. The Golden Bears at 18 under overall and have a two stroke advantage over USC and the Huskies.
Washington had led for most of the afternoon before Cheng-Tsung Pan, the Huskies other All-American, suffered a tough blow on the par-3 fifth hole. With darkness setting in, Pan could not navigate the water hazard in front of the green and twice plunked his ball into the drink. He had to count a quadruple-bogey 7 on the hole.
"That kind of stuff happens," Thurmond explained. "You have to tee it back up and keep going. That's just golf."
Despite the blemish, Pan is 4-under overall - thanks to a first round 67 - and has three holes, plus the entire third round to make up the ground he lost. He sits tied for ninth along with teammate Trevor Simsby.
Simsby shot 69 in the morning round and was 1 under through 16 holes when darkness settled in over the course.
"Trevor is just playing great. He really has just become a good golfer," Thurmond said of the junior.
Charlie Hughes is the only other Husky still on the course. He is 1 under with a hole left to play. The senior shot 74 in the morning and has moved up the leaderboard into a tie for 27th.
Freshman walk-on Kyle Bowser, like Salsbury, made his team-competition debut. He shot 83 in the morning, but rebounded nicely in the afternoon with a 74.
The Huskies and the rest of the Pac-12 field will be back at it on Tuesday. After they complete Monday's suspended second round, they will play 18 holes to determine who reigns supreme in the conference. Thurmond likes his team's chances tomorrow.
"We are happy where we are," he said. "We have a shot to win this thing tomorrow and we are excited to go out and try to do it."