No. 7 Men's Golf Kicks Off Spring In Hawai'i
Feb. 5, 2013
WAIKOLOA, Hawai'i -- After a winter layoff that saw the Washington Huskies men's golf team train in relative anonymity in the Pacific Northwest, the team is finally ready to get their competitive jackets back on and tee it up for the spring.
Coach Matt Thurmond and his six-man travelling squad are in for a treat this week after slogging through a decent Seattle winter. They will kick off their spring season in the idyllic setting of Waikoloa King's Course on the Big Island of Hawai'i starting Wednesday.
The team arrived on Saturday to get proper "training" in for the three-day, 54-hole tournament that features nine teams ranked in Golfstat.com's top-25 - including No. 7 Washington. In typical Matt Thurmond fashion, his team arrived early enough to hit the beaches for some bogie boarding, take breathtaking hikes and relax before the seasons hits them head-on.
The trip is not all fun and games for the Huskies. Off a fall that saw the Dawgs collect a win and second place finish at the Pac-12 Preview, this team is poised for big things in the spring.
Thurmond's squad features three members of the Ben Hogan Watch List (just the third team to ever place a trio on the watch list), plus a nice mix of young up-and-comers and other more-than-ready-to-contribute veterans.
Chris Williams, the No. 1 amateur player in the world, will headline every event he competes at this spring, but his fellow Hogan Award nominees Cheng-Tsung Pan and Trevor Simsby are not to be taken lightly either. The trio gives the Huskies formidable firepower at the top of the lineup each tournament.
Williams is finally healthy and rested after battling mononucleosis for several months during the fall season. He won the World Amateur's top honor - The Mark H. McCormack Medal - and represented the U.S. at the Palmer Cup, the World Amateur Championship and the Copas de Americas.
Pan is coming off a fall that saw him go 271-4-10 in head-to-head action during the fall season and finish no worse than third in four collegiate events. He ascended to No. 1 in the Golfweek Collegiate rankings and No. 2 in the Golfstat.com rankings.
Simsby enters spring seventh on Golfweek's collegiate individual rankings. He had three top-five finishes in four fall events, including his first ever collegiate win: the Pac-12 Preview, which featured 7 other competitors on the Hogan Watch List.
Joining the big three in Hawai'i lineup are a pair of freshmen who earned their trip to the islands through stellar qualifying. Jonathan Sanders and Chris Babcock round out the team's five-man lineup. Both golfers showed steady improvement in the winter and will be counted on to help push the Huskies over the top.
Junior Gerrit Chambers will compete as an individual this week.
A total of 20 teams are competing on the King's Course this week. Besides seventh-ranked Washington, No. 2 Texas, No. 4 UCLA, No. 8 Georgia Tech, No. 9 USC, No. 13 Oklahoma State, No. 14 Stanford, No. 19 Texas Christian and No. 25 are the top-25 squads competing. Arizona State (58),Cal-State Stanislaus, Cal Davis (53), Colorado (66), Hawai'i, Hawai'i-Hilo, Oregon (67), Oregon State (55), Osaka Gakuin University, San Jose State and Texas Tech (29) are also playing.
The shotgun start begins at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday and continues each day through Friday at 7:30 a.m.
Live scoring is available on Golfstat.com and daily recaps can be found on GoHuskies.com.