UW Men Notch Impressive Second-Place Finish at The Prestige
Oct. 12, 2010
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- When asked prior to the start of the fall golf season about the prospects of his young Husky men's golf team, head coach Matt Thurmond shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't know what we have."
This week in The Prestige at the TPC Stadium Course at PGA WEST, Thurmond learned what he has is a pretty darn good team.
The Huskies finished the 54-hole tournament at the 7,300-yard, par-72 course in a tie for second with Stanford. Both the Cardinal and the Huskies shot a combined 867 (+3) and finished three strokes back of tournament champion California.
Washington's five-man roster includes a freshman, two sophomores and two untested juniors. Thurmond had to replace three All-Americans from his 2010 NCAA Quarterfinalist squad.
Despite the strong finish and the team's youth, Thurmond's squad could have left the Palm Desert course with the title. They held a two-stroke lead late in the round but several bogeys and double bogeys down the stretch derailed hopes of the team championship.
"Looking back, I'm really excited about the tournament," said Thurmond. "For the second time in a row, we were in the final group and had a really legitimate chance to win. We caught fire in the middle of the round and for a minute took the lead with just an amazing run of birdies and pars.
"We just lost it coming in and Cal made some shots," continued Thurmond. "To win it is hard. It requires to hit some key shots in big moments and we just did not quite do it...but we gave ourselves a chance, which is cool."
Charlie Hughes finished as the Huskies' top individual finisher, ending up fourth out of 81 competitors -- his best-ever collegiate finish. He started the day atop the leaderboard by two strokes but quickly lost that lead when he came out of the gate with five-straight bogeys. He steadied himself with three birdies and just one bogey over the next 11 holes, but a 5 on the Par-3 17th hole knocked him out of contention for good. He entered the clubhouse with a 5-over 77, a score that ended up not even counting towards the Huskies' team total.
"In the end, he will be (pleased)," said Thurmond about Hughes. "It was a rough start for him, but it's the first time he's led a college tournament like that and that's hard to do. It is no different for Charlie to lead a college tournament for the first time than it is for Dustin Johnson leading the U.S. Open...things can happen."
Chris Williams, Jens Bracht and Cory McElyea all shot a 71 (-1) to lead the Huskies' charge on Tuesday. Each took turns carrying the team at different points and pushing Washington to the top of the leaderboard.
Williams ended up tied for sixth with a 214 (-2). Typical of the UW contigents' scorecards, he had an array of interesting numbers duiring the day. Williams had an eagle, five birdies, two bogeys and two double-bogeys during the round.
McElyea, competing in just his second collegiate tournament, ended up 17th overall with a 219 (+3). He started his round with a birdie, but followed up with a bogey and double-bogey. From there, McElyea was excellent with six birdies but also had three bogeys, including one of No. 18. His seven birdies overall were the most by a Husky during the three days.
Bracht entered the day struggling to find his groove and was a combined 15-over par. But, after a bogey on his fourth hole, Bracht strung together five birdies during an eight-hole stretch, including three in a row on holes 13-15. A double on No. 18 and bogey on No. 1 threatened to ruin his round, but he fininshed up with a birdie on No. 2. Overall, Bracht tied for 59th with a 230 (+14).
Ty Chambers shot his best round of the three days with a 2-over 74. Every one of the Huskies had to count at least one double bogey during the round, and his came early on his fifth hole. Chambers ended up with three birdies on the day and tied for 54th at +13 (229).
Gerrit Chambers, competing as an individual, shot an 11-over 83 and ended up 73rd overall (237, +21)