UW Looks To Defend Titles At Bandon Dunes
March 15, 2012
BANDON, Ore. - The third-ranked Huskies men's golf team is coming off a nearly three week layoff and head to Bandon Dunes in Oregon to defend their team and individual titles that they earned at the event last year.
Washington is among 15 teams competing at the 54-hole Bandon Dunes Championship to be held on the Bandon Trails Course, starting Friday and running through Sunday. Joining the Huskies in southern Oregon are hosts Gonzaga, plus British Columbia, Colorado, Hartford, Loyola Marymount, Long Beach State, Marquette, Oregon, Oregon State, Pacific, San Jose State, UMKC, Utah Valley, and Weber State.
Last year, the Huskies captured the team title with an 871 for an 8-stroke victory over Oregon. Charlie Hughes of Washington captured medalist honors in 2011 with a final score of 210. Husky Head Coach Matt Thurmond is excited to see how Hughes responds to the pressure of being the defending champion.
"He's been playing better in practice and I'm sure he's feeling a little bit of extra anxiousness and excitement," Thurmond said of his junior golfer from British Columbia. "I'm really excited to see how Charlie plays. He can hit a lot of shots into the wind and low to the ground. His game fits Bandon really well."
Hughes will golf from the No. 4 slot for the Huskies this week. Joining him in the lineup is Chris Williams, Cheng-Tsung Pan, Trevor Simsby and Cory McElyea. Ty Chambers will also be participating as an individual competitor for the Huskies.
Once again, the Huskies have two golfers in The World Amateur Golf Rankings top-10: Williams at No. 5 and Pan at No. 8. On Golfstat.com, Pan is No. 8 and Williams is No. 12. Simsby is also jumping into the mix, checking in at No. 94 on Golfweek.com's college rankings.
The squad just wrapped up finals week, so Thurmond expects his team to be excited to be back on the course.
"They have been dealing with finals all week so they haven't had a lot of practice and have been mostly focused on their school work, so I think the emotion the team is most feeling is relief," Thurmond said on Tuesday. "I think they're going to be relaxed and excited to go play some golf."
Adding to the excitement of the tournament is the prospect of playing on one of the nation's top golf courses. All four courses at Bandon Dunes Resort and are ranked in Golfweek's 2012 Best Resort Courses. Pacific Dunes is No. 1, Old MacDonald is No. 2, Bandon Dunes is No. 6 and this year's course Bandon Trails is No. 11. Bandon Trails is a Par 71 and 6,743-yards.
Thurmond said: "It's a big golf destination in America and there is just a special feel about there. Nobody goes there that is not a hardcore golfer. It's just the perfect place to go play golf. It is links-style golf so it just harkens back to the way the game started back on the British Isles.
"It's fun to play a different type of golf. You're battling the elements, you're looking out at the ocean and you've got to hit shots that you haven't ever had to hit before. It's just a whole different brand of golf and a lot of fun."