Arizona sets school record while winning back-to-back Arizona intercollegiate tournaments
Arizona men's golf celebrated on the 18th green and back at the clubhouse by hugging and high-fiving, while coach Jim Anderson congratulated each of his golfers as they stepped out of their golf carts and onto the pavement. The stress of the tournament had been lifted off their shoulders, knowing they officially defended their home turf.
The team kicked off its 2019 season with a bang by taking home first place at the Arizona Intercollegiate on Tuesday. UA sophomore Trevor Werbylo also tied for second place individually with a tournament score of 202, 11 under par.
After three rounds (54 holes), the Wildcats finished the tournament at 37 under par as a team, beating Arizona State by three strokes (-34). St. Mary’s, from California, finished the day at 21 under par, enough for sole possession of third place. The tournament, which is played on Arizona’s home course Sewailo, has been a special one for the 'Cats, as they won last year’s Arizona Intercollegiate as well.
“We prepared for it, we executed, and that gave our guys a ton of confidence, our coaching staff a bunch of confidence. The fact that we’ve done it two in a row now it means that this is something we think we can do more often, so it’s an exciting day for us,” Anderson said after Tuesday’s win.
The 'Cats used a historic final round to complete the comeback win over in-state rival ASU and claim first place. Arizona’s final round-team score of 21 under par at 263 set a school record for the lowest single-round score and tied the lowest total tournament score at 37 under par, according to Arizona Athletics.
A huge part of the win was the lights-out individual play from the Arizona golfers. UA shined in the final round of the tournament, with Werbylo shooting a 65 and help from Ethan Marcus, Brad Reeves and Briggs Duce shooting a final round score of 66. Marcus jumped eight spots up the leaderboard to tie for fifth place, while Reeves climbed 12 spots to tie for 13th individually.
“When you get some momentum going, and the whole team’s playing well, you just feed off each other. And again, when we’re playing at home, we’re comfortable, and you have confidence going in. So that’s what we did,” Werbylo said.
Junior David Laskin tied for 16th individually with a tournament score of 208 (-5). Laskin used the second round to solidify his spot inside the top 20, with a round-two score of 66. Laskin talked about how much confidence this year’s win helps the team for the rest of the season.
“I think this is going to give us a lot of confidence. Thirty-seven under, that’s a pretty good score for three rounds, I’d say, and I think it’ll help propel us towards regionals and hopefully nationals at the end of the season,” Laskin said.
Duce, a UA junior, rounded out the tournament for Arizona tying in 25th place. Duce’s 25th-place finish kept all five UA golfers in the top 25, individually, out of more than 80 golfers who participated.
Anderson went on to talk about about his message to his team during the final round at Sewailo.
“In golf, a lot of times, it’s just going back to patience. When you’re competing, there’s not really any time to adjust technique, so as a coach you just remind them to be aggressive, find some good tempo, rhythm, slow things down,” he said.
Arizona competed against 15 other schools on Monday and Tuesday, with ASU, Washington and UCLA traveling to Tucson representing the Pac-12. Chandler Phillips from Texas A&M placed first individually with a tournament score of 194 (-19).
Up next, the 'Cats take just under a month break in team play before they travel to Lihue, Hawaii to compete in the John Burns Invitational Feb. 21-23.
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