Courtesy of Pepperdine Athletics
To get an idea of how dominating Pepperdine's performance was at the Golf Club of Georgia Intercollegiate over the weekend, Texas A&M shot a program-record 38-under par and finished second by four strokes.
Sometimes you just have to tip your hat.
Four Waves -- William Mouw
(67), Dylan Menante
(68), Joey Vrzich
(68) and medalist Joe Highsmith
(69) -- led the Waves to a 16-under score of 275 on Sunday, as Pepperdine captured its first team title of the season on the eve of the East Lake Cup, which gets underway on Monday.
As well as the Waves played to shoot 42-under 822, shattering the tournament record by 14 strokes, the Aggies nearly matched the Waves shot for shot all three days. Texas A&M also carded a final round of 16-under 272 and battled Pepperdine to the final hole, where the Waves' counting players made three birdies and an eagle on the par-5 18th while the Aggie four combined to play the final hole at even par.
"I say it all the time, it is a hard sport to win," said Texas A&M head coach Brian Kortan. "It's hard to win golf tournaments. You can play great golf, and someone might have a week a little better than yours. That was kind of how it was.
"It was a high-class field with a lot of great programs. To distance ourselves from the third-place team with Pepperdine just shows you how well we played. You can't underestimate how difficult it really is to win a team golf event."
Highsmith outlasted Wake Forest's Alex Fitzpatrick
to win the individual title with a 19-under score of 197 (63-65-69), good for a four-stroke victory over the Demon Deacon All-American. For the second consecutive day, Highsmith opened his round with a birdie on the par-5 first hole and after an uncharacteristic double bogey on the par-3 6th hole, reeled off three consecutive birdies to close out his first nine. He added two more birdies on the back to offset a bogey on the 14th hole for a final round 69.
Highsmith's total of 197, which included 23 birdies and an eagle, broke the tournament record by three strokes and gave the bucket hat-wearing lefty from Kirkland, Wash. his second career collegiate victory following his win at last year's Western Intercollegiate.
On the strength of a career-best final-round 66, Texas A&M's Sam Bennett
moved into a tie for third place with Stanford's Karl Vilips at 12-under 204.
The low round of the day belonged to TCU's Thomas Allkins
, who shot a 7-under 65 to move 24 spots up the leaderboard into a tie for ninth place at 7-under 209. Allkins closed his round with four consecutive birdies.
Pepperdine will join top-ranked Oklahoma, No. 2 Arizona State and No. 4 Oklahoma State at the East Lake Cup, which gets underway on Bobby Jones' home course in Atlanta, where the Waves will be defending their title.
Texas A&M Athletics Communications contributed to this report.
Second Round Recap; Oct. 23
The Pepperdine Waves and their senior Joe Highsmith
continue to set a torrid pace at the Golf Club of Georgia Intercollegiate but are both being pursued closely heading into Sunday's final round.
After firing their second consecutive 13-under round of 275 on Saturday, the defending national champion Waves remain in first place on the leaderboard at 26-under 550, which would normally be good enough to enjoy a casual Sunday stroll over the final 18 holes on the Golf Club of Georgia's Lakeside Course.
However, sixth-ranked Texas A&M still has the Waves in its sight, as the Aggies are just four back at 22-under after carding a 9-under 279 on Saturday. Tennessee (558; -18), Wake Forest (559; -17) and Stanford (561; -15) round out the top five.
The individual title has the looks of a two-man race between Highsmith, who followed an opening-round 63 with a 65 on Saturday, and Wake Forest senior and GB&I Walker Cup team member Alex Fitzpatrick
, who is two back at 14-under 130.
It would be a lot to ask Highsmith to maintain the torrid pace he set in round one when he blistered the Lakeside Course with a 9-under 63, collecting eight birdies during one a nine-hole stretch midway through his round. However, the bucket hat-wearing lefty was nearly up to the task on Saturday, carding a 7-under round of 65 to move to 16-under 128 for two days of work. Highsmith's 16-under is the second-best score ever by a Wave after 36 holes.
While his opening round got off to a rather pedestrian start, such was not the case on Saturday, as Highsmith birdied three out of his first four holes out of the gates to move to 12-under for the tournament. After dropping a shot on the par-3, sixth, the senior from Kirkland, Wash. played 5-under over his final 12 holes, highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 11th, to finish with a 65.
Fitzpatrick could have easily lost sight of Highsmith after making bogeys on two of his first four holes to start his second round, but the Sheffield, England native quickly turned things around and played 8-under from the sixth hole on to come home in 66.
In addition to Highsmith's 65, the Waves also counted rounds from William Mouw
(69), Derek Hitchner
(71) and Dylan Menante
on Saturday to maintain their four-stroke lead over the Aggies, who have three players - Walker Lee
(-7), William Paysse
(-6) and Sam Bennett
(-6) - inside the top-10.
The final round of the Golf Club of Georgia will conclude on Sunday.
Round One Recap; Oct. 22
Whatever Joe Highsmith
said to himself after making a bogey on the par-5 first hole of the Country Club of Georgia seemed to work.
After settling down with pars on the second and third holes, Pepperdine's bucket hat-wearing lefty from Lakewood, Wash., birdied eight of his next nine holes to get to 7-under on his card and then following four routine pars, Highsmith closed out his round with birdies on holes 17 and 18 for a 9-under round of 63.
His 63 was one shot off the Pepperdine and tournament record and is good for a one-stroke lead over Wake Forest's Alex Fitzpatrick
after the first round of the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate being held in Alpharetta. Fitzpatrick made an eagle on the opening hole and then added seven birdies coming home for a round of 64.
of East Tennessee State carded a 66 and sits in third place, while Karl Vilips
of Stanford is in fourth after posting a 67. Georgia Tech’s Aidan Kramer
, playing on his home course, is in a group of four players at 68.
Behind Highsmith's near-record round, the defending NCAA champion Waves share the first-round lead with Texas A&M at 13-under 275, four shots clear of third-place East Tennessee State at 9-under 279. Duke (280) and Tennessee (281) round out the top five.
Pepperdine also counted rounds from Joey Vrzich
(69), William Mouw
(70) and Derek Hitchner
(73), while Dylan Menante
carded a 74.
The Aggies were led by Sam Bennett
and Walker Lee
, who each shot a 4-under 68, and are tied for fifth. William Paysse
is tied for ninth after shooting a 3-under 69 while Michael Heidelbaugh is tied for 14th at 2-under.
A total of 35 golfers managed to shoot even par or better on the par-72, 7092-yard Lakeside Course layout in Alpharetta.
The 15-team Golf Club of Georgia Intercollegiate, which features 10 of the nation’s top 50 teams, according to the most recent rankings by Golfstat and the Golfweek/Sagarin Index, will continue through Sunday.