The wind dominates Waves' Western Intercollegiate title defense
Credit Pepperdine Men's Golf
Credit Pepperdine Men's Golf

Pasatiempo Golf Club treated the field at the 75th Western Intercollegiate with all Mother Nature could muster. Fog and rain draped the course along the Santa Cruz Hills in the morning. The afternoon brought 20 to 30 mph winds blowing away the coastal fog and challenging the players to manage the course and finish their rounds before dark. Ultimately play was suspended due to darkness at 8:00 P.M., 20 minutes after sunset in Santa Cruz, Calif. Pepperdine emerged from the suspension with a three-shot lead at 18 over par, ahead of Texas. However, the defending Waves have a hole to go, with the Longhorns finished with round one.

“Alister Mackenzie was a genius,” Texas head coach John Fields told Golf Channel about the famed designer of Pasatiempo. “100 years later he’s taxing these guys as much as he can.”

At the end of the opening round, no one went under par, with a four-way tie for the individual lead at even between Texas senior Pierceson Coody, Colorado State sophomore Rasmus Hjelm, San Jose State freshman Nick Watts, and Pepperdine junior Dylan Menante sitting at even on the final hole.

Coody’s round best exemplified the challenging conditions Pasatiempo presented on Monday. He posted six birdies on his way to even par, with a three-over back nine. Coody is one of three players in the field of 16 the nominees announced Monday for the Fred Haskins Award, the most outstanding male collegiate golfer of the year. Fellow nominees R.J. Manke of Washington posted a 73, and Michael Thorbjornsen of Stanford sat at eight-over par with a hole to play.

Hjelm posted four birdies and four bogeys for his 70, matching the low score of the season. Watts, who finished T1 at the Husky Invitational back in September, shot even par on both sides before the worst of the wind picked up.

Menante took control of the title defense for the Waves, with his even-par round through 17 in a race against darkness that featured a birdie on the problematic triple-tiered green at the 16th, knocking it inside five feet for his three. Defending individual champion Joe Highsmith and Derek Hitchner sat at three-over with a hole to play, while William Mouw and Joe Vrzich were at six-over, each sitting on the par 3 18th as play suspended.

It's a clustered group within ten shots of the Waves, as Texas (+21), Washington (+23), Cal (+24), and host San Jose State (+26) are all nearby. Unlike most college tournaments, teams at the Western Intercollegiate have six players play for five counting spots instead of the usual five-for-four, giving more scoring opportunities and less margin for error in the challenging conditions.

But the prevailing storyline is Stanford's struggle during Monday's windy round. The 16th-ranked Cardinal, winners of two of the last five playings of the Western Intercollegiate, sit in 13th place of 14 teams at 40 over par with a hole to play.

“This was differential equations,” Fields said, “probably the hardest class you can take at Texas. It was a challenge today, every last bit of it.”

The final three groups on the course will finish their first rounds Tuesday morning, followed immediately by the second round of play.

Results: Western Intercollegiate
1CADylan MenanteCarlsbad, CA70070-72-67=209
T2UTCarson LundellAlpine, UT50077-70-65=212
T2TXPierceson CoodyPlano, TX50070-73-69=212
T2SwedenRasmus HjelmSweden50070-69-73=212
T5Cayman IslandsJustin HastingsCayman Islands40072-71-70=213

View full results for Western Intercollegiate

ABOUT THE Western Intercollegiate

54-hole men's college tournament hosted by San Jose State University. “The Western” is one of the most highly recognized national collegiate tournaments, conducted since 1946 Pasatiempo Golf Club; a historic venue where a player’s talent is always well-tested. Pasatiempo perennially ranks among the best by all of the major golf publications.

The format is slightly different than most college events. Six-player teams take the best five scores each round to determine the team score.

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