Huskies hoping to get hot at NCAAs
The Huskies hope it’s their turn to get hot at the NCAA golf championships, which begin Friday at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan.
The Seattle Times
The Washington men’s golf team seems due for a win.
The eighth-ranked Huskies, despite playing great golf, have had to settle for second-place finishes in their past four events, including the Pac-12 championships and last week’s NCAA regional. In both events, Washington beat many of the top teams in the country, but the Huskies keep running into one team that plays out of its mind.
The Huskies hope it’s their turn to do that at the NCAA championships, which begin Friday at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan. There are three days of stroke play, and the top eight teams will earn spots in match play, starting Tuesday.
The top 40 individuals and ties after Sunday’s stroke play will play a fourth round Monday to determine the individual winner; that will be televised by The Golf Channel. It is a change from the previous format, when the individual champ was decided after three rounds.
It means that players in the top 40 could play seven rounds in six days if their teams reached the finals of match play.
“Physically, these guys can handle it, but mentally, it’s a real grind,” said UW coach Matt Thurmond. “It’s our job to keep them relaxed and get them rejuvenated when they are off the course.”
Thurmond and assistant Dan Potter scouted Prairie Dunes in March.
“I am not sure the course will favor any team, it’s so difficult,” Thurmond said.
Thurmond is confident his team will play its best. Sophomore Jonathan Sanders is coming off a regional victory. Senior Trevor Simsby and junior Cheng-Tsung Pan are among the best players in school history. Freshman Corey Pereira has five top-10 finishes this season, and Chris Babcock edged out Gerrit Chambers to be the fifth player and has been playing well, Thurmond said.
Washington has finished as high as third at the NCAA championships, in 2005, when UW’s James Lepp won the individual title. UW lost in the quarterfinals of match play in 2009 and 2010. A win would solidify the Huskies’ position as one of the top programs in the country.
“I feel good,” Thurmond said. “We’re a good team. We’ve earned what we’ve gotten, and we’ve improved a lot, but I don’t think we’ve peaked yet. This is the right time, and I’m confident we will play to our ability.”