Courtesy of Washington Athletics
The Washington Huskies and senior Noah Woolsey
took advantage of the familiar surroundings of Aldarra Golf Club in Sammamish, Wash. to win the Pac-12 Conference's team and individual championships on Wednesday.
Playing on its home course, the eighth-ranked Huskies carded a 2-over 1422 total in the unique six-count-five format, which was good for a three-stroke win over Stanford. Woolsey, shot a 1-over 72 in the final round to finish at 8-under 276, edging out Stanford's Barclay Brown
by a single stroke.
Washington began the day with a seven-stroke lead over Arizona State, but the Sun Devils broke out of the gates quickly and eventually erased the Huskies' lead. Washington withstood the Sun Devils' charge and combined for nine birdies over the last three holes on the outward nine to regain control of the lead.
After shooting 4-over in its first round, 21st-ranked Stanford found itself 13 strokes behind co-leaders Washington and Arizona State. The Cardinal trimmed the lead down to six following the conclusion of Monday's 36-hole day but a third-round 357 left the Cardinal nine strokes behind Washington heading into Wednesday's play.
Conrad Ray's team made a valiant run, carding a final round 356 (+1) to Washington's 362 (+7), but ultimately came up three strokes shy of the title.
"The lead was like the tide," said Washington head coach Alan Murray. "It kept going out and it kept coming back in. When all the cards were signed, we were leading, and that's the best time to lead. The guys really were clutch and played some phenomenal golf down the stretch -- all of them."
Meanwhile, the race for the individual title came down to Woolsey, Brown and Yuki Moriyama
At 10-under 203, Brown took a one-shot lead over Woolsey heading into the final round while Moriyama was third at 5-under. The Oregon sophomore from Kanagawa, Japan had too much ground to make up, leaving the title to be decided between Woolsey and Brown.
Playing together, Woolsey moved a stroke ahead of Brown at the turn after the Stanford junior was 3-over on his outward nine. He fell five strokes off the pace after making a bogey and a double-bogey to begin his second nine. Brown then reeled off four consecutive birdies and trailed by just two shots heading to the 16th hole.
Brown bogeyed the hole the 16th, but Woolsey made things interesting with a double on the par-4 17th and the lead was down to one.
On the par-4 18th, Woolsey's tee shot found the rough, but his second shot landed on the green within 10 feet of the hole. His birdie putt missed by mere inches, but he tapped in for par two win the tournament.
"It was spectacular," said Murray, regarding Woolsey's second shot on No. 18. "It was about seven or eight feet away -- an awesome golf shot under intense pressure with only a one-shot lead. Noah's a quality player and a quality kid, and he's been showing up whenever we need him throughout all his time here. The whole team is happy for him. He's absolutely earned it."
"I was pretty nervous and I didn't hit any really good shots," Woolsey admitted, referring to his first eight holes. "That freaked me out because I wasn't comfortable at all, but I made some really good up-and-downs and some good putts. Once I got to 10, I started to feel more comfortable."
The victory marks Washington's first conference title since 2010 while Woolsey becomes the first UW men's golfer to earn conference medalist honors since Darren Wallace in 2009.
Washington Athletic Communications contributed to this report.
ABOUT THE Pac-12 Championship
72-hole men's collegiate championship of the
Pac-12 Conference with simultaneous team and
individual competitions. Unlike most college
tournaments, the best five scores of six players
account for the team score each day.
View Complete Tournament Information