EUGENE, Ore (March 27, 2012) - En route to his first collegiate win, senior Andrew Vijarro capped an impressive two-day run to win his first collegiate tourney Tuesday in the Oregon Duck Invitational at the Eugene Country Club.
The Bend, Ore., native shot a three-under final round to win the event by one stroke with his six-under three-round tally (71-70-69-210) over senior teammate Eugene Wong (second, 69-69-73-211).
"It felt good to win," Vijarro said, "and especially since I was right there with Eugene and Dan. I want to help the team have a chance to do well at the national championship in June so we need to get it going. We hadn't play as well the last few events so we tried to push each other."
Another Duck senior, Daniel Miernicki, followed another stroke back (third, 71-69-72-212) to cement a 1-2-3 sweep for the No. 14 Ducks.
UO featured a fourth team entry in the top 10 overall in redshirt junior Robbie Ziegler (eighth-tie, 73-71-71-215), while freshman Rak Cho (65th-tie, 79-81-72-232) was the fourth team entry that shot par or better Tuesday.
Six other Ducks competed as individuals, and three placed top 35 overall - freshman Jonathan Woo (16th-tie, 73-73-73-219), sophomore Ben Itterman (32nd-tie, 73-76-74-223) and junior Jack Pennington (35th-tie, 77-70-77-224).
UO's other individuals included redshirt senior Jack Paton (45th-tie, 71-82-73-226), freshman Tye Gabriel (58th-tie, 79-80-71-229) and redshirt junior Tyler Parker (62nd-tie, 81-74-76-231).
Team-wise on the par 72, 7,007-yard course, UO held off Long Beach State to win by two strokes with its 17-under team score (284-279-284-847) over the 49ers (second, 280-284-285-849). The Ducks entered the morning with a one-stroke lead over LBSU, and both teams held slim leads at various points during Tuesday's finale.
"It was great for us to get a win, especially here," Oregon head coach Casey Martin said. "You don't get a chance to play at home very often, so you have to take advantage of those opportunities. Long Beach has been coming on this spring, so we had to battle the whole way."
No. 34 St. Mary's followed in third place (287-289-287-863), just ahead of Oregon State (fourth, 295-289-296-880) and Pacific (fifth, 293-296-292-881).
Tuesday's win was UO's seventh team-wise in the 23rd edition of the event after it staked titles in 1989, '90, '93, '99 2002 and '10. Likewise, Vijarro's individual crown was Oregon's seventh in event history.
The best previous tourney finishes for Vijarro in his previous 41 stroke play events was a third-place effort in the 2009 Alister MacKenzie Invitational and fourth-place efforts in the 2009 Western Intercollegiate, 2010 USC Intercollegiate and 2011 Bandon Dunes Championship.
For comparison's sake, he took 29th in 2010, 28th in '10 and 17th in '09 in prior Oregon Duck Invitationals.
Vijarro shot three, same-tourney, under-par scores for the second time in his career after he shot a five-under 205 in the 2009 Del Walker Intercollegiate (eighth-tie, 68-68-69). His score Monday and Tuesday was his third under-par tourney total this season and ninth career-wise, and only three off his career best (-9) that came in The Prestige event last fall (fifth, 68-71-68-207).
"I tried to focus on doing my best when it mattered the most, and trying to handle the pressure," Vijarro said. "I've been working hard to help the team, so this is a nice reward. I wasn't highly recruited coming in, but I've gotten progressively better each year. I want to continue to play after this year, so this is a step towards that."
Vijarro led UO in a tourney for the first time this season and 11th time career-wise. His final round score paced Oregon for the fourth time this season and 23rd time overall. Among other career notes, he has 38 under-par rounds and 10 among his 21 overall this campaign.
Team-wise, Oregon staked its fourth win of the campaign after it was victorious in its first three fall events - the St Mary's Invitational (286-281-286-853), The Prestige (279-273-280-832) and Alister MacKenzie Invitational (270-268-273-811), also with under-par team scores in each.
"This is always a great course," Martin said, "and the folks at Eugene Country Club did a wonderful job making it ready to play. They expected wet conditions so they placed the pins high at the back of the greens. That helped make it play long, and with soft greens it sometimes made it a challenge to get to the pins, so it wasn't easy today."
Looking ahead, the Ducks leave Wednesday to compete in the U.S. Intercollegiate hosted at the Stanford Golf Course this weekend.
The event will feature three rounds on March 30-April 1 on the par-70 course. UO is one of six, top-15 nationally-ranked teams in the event with No. 4 UCLA, No. 6 Washington, No. 10 USC, No. 11 Stanford and No. 12 San Diego State.