April 27, 2005
By Joe Nickell
WALLA WALLA, Wash. Sophomore Erik Olson and the Washington Huskies both came from behind Wednesday, to win the individual and team titles at the Pacific-10 Conference Men's Golf Championships.
Olson, a native of Renton, Wash., came into the final round tied for second place, four strokes behind the leader, senior Pat Moore of Arizona State. Olson posted a 2-under 69 at the par 71, 6,606-yard Walla Walla Country Club, in the final round to win the individual title by one stroke. Olson finished with an 8-under 276. He was the only player in the field to post all four rounds under par.
"This feels awesome," Olson said. "It feels amazing. This is my first college victory, and it just happens to be the Pac-10 Championship."
The tournament victory marks the first of Olson's career and the first individual conference title for the Huskies since O.D. Vincent in 1988. Vincent currently coaches the UCLA Bruins.
The Huskies, who earned an automatic bid to the NCAA West Regional Championships with their victory, came into the final round in fifth place, 17 strokes behind third-round leader Arizona State.
Led by the play of Olson as well as sophomore Alex Prugh and junior James Lepp, Washington posted the lowest team score of the final round, finishing the day tied with Arizona State. The Huskies captured the team title as a result of a better cumulative six-man team score in the final round.
"We made our putts today," Olson said. "We have so much potential on this team, it's unbelievable. We've been hitting it well all week; it was just a matter of time before it (the team victory) happened."
The Huskies benefited from an early tee time, while the Sun Devils were forced to play most of their final round in wind storms that reached as high as 30 miles per hour.
"We got really fortunate with mother nature," said Washington Head Coach Matt Thurmond. "But we believed (we could win) throughout the tournament. You just can't say enough about the way they played the last three days."
Arizona State's Moore, who just missed capturing his second consecutive individual title, finished in third place at 5-under 279. Moore, a native of Phoenix, Ariz., was one of three Sun Devils to finish the tournament in the top 10. Niklas Lemke, a sophomore from Linkoping, Sweden, finished tied for seventh with a 1-under 283. Alejandro Canizares of Manilva, Spain, finished tied for 10th with an even-par 284.
Arizona, who began the final round in fourth place, moved up a position finishing in third place as a team. The Wildcats were led by senior Nathan Lashley, who finished in second place with a 7-under 277. Wildcat sophomore Henry Liaw, who won the 2004 Pac-10 individual title, finished tied for 14th with a score of 285 (+1).
UCLA, the tournament leader after the second round, finished in fourth place with a team score of 1,432 (+12). The two-time defending NCAA West Regional Champion Bruins were led by the play of freshman Kevin Chappell, who finished the tournament tied for seventh with a four-round score of 283 (-1). Senior John Poucher of Santa Barbara, Calif., and sophomore Joakim Renstrom of Taby, Sweden, also finished the tournament in the top 20.
Three golfers led the University of Oregon to a fifth place team finish. Sophomores Matt Ma and Jay Snyder, as well as junior Gregg LaVoie each finished in the top 20. Ma and LaVoie posted final rounds under par to lift the Ducks from sixth place after the third round to fifth place in the final round.
Southern California finished the tournament in seventh place. The Trojans were led by sophomore Joshua Wooding, who finished the tournament tied for 17th with a score of 286 (+2).
The 2004 NCAA Champion California Golden Bears finished in eighth place, led by a fifth place finish from sophomore and Oak Park, Calif., native Brandon Beck. Beck posted a four-round total of 282 (-2) to earn a share of fifth place.
Host school Washington State finished the tournament in ninth place, led by sophomore Kevin Chen. Chen finished tied for 25th, posting a four-round total of 289 (+5). The final round for the Cougars was highlighted by redshirt junior David Fern, who holed his second shot from 108 yards for an eagle at the par-4, 364-yard, 12th hole.
Oregon State finished the tournament in 10th place. Senior Brad Simpson and freshman Vincent Johnson each finished tied for 19th place, shooting 287 (+3) on the tournament.
Pacific-10 Conference Championships
April 25-27, 2005
Walla Walla Country Club; Walla Walla, Wash.
Par 71, 6,606 yards
Team Results: T1. Washington (371-353-351-3501425, +5), T1. Arizona State (351-358-349-3671425, +5), 3. Arizona (356-366-352-3541428, +8), 4. UCLA (352-355-354-3711432, +12), 5. Oregon (369-357-355-3551436, +16), 6. Stanford (363-359-351-3651438, +18), 7. Southern California (362-352-368-3621444, +24), 8. California (353-361-368-3671449, +29), Washington State (359-358-366-3751458, +38), 10. Oregon State (363-366-362-3701461, +41).
Top 10 Individuals: 1. Erik Olson, Washington (70-69-68-69276, -8), 2. Nathan Lashley, Arizona (68-72-68-69277, -7), 3. Pat Moore, Arizona State (67-67-69-76279, -5), 4. Rob Grube, Stanford (69-72-66-74281, -3), T5. Brandon Beck, California (69-69-72-72282, -2), T5. Justin St. Clair, Oregon (70-72-69-71282, -2), T7. Kevin Chappell, UCLA (67-70-71-75283, -1), T7. Michael Jensen, California (69-68-71-75283, -1), T7. Niklas Lemke, Arizona State (73-73-68-69283, -1), T10. Four others tied with 284 (E).