Pepperdine, Texas Tech's Ludvig Aberg take titles at The Prestige
Photo courtesy of Pepperdine Athletics
Photo courtesy of Pepperdine Athletics

After losing three key players from a team that won a national championship two years ago and reached the national semifinals last season, Pepperdine head coach Michael Beard knew his Waves would be somewhat of a work in progress this season.

Not to say the Waves didn't have the firepower to maintain their lofty national presence, as transfers Sam Choi, Luke Gifford and Roberto Nieves joined stalwarts William Mouw and Derek Hitchner to form a talented lineup that Beard knew was going to take some time to gel.

A third-place showing at the Ben Hogan Intercollegiate in October followed by second-place finishes at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate and the Southwestern Invitational served as an indication Pepperdine was right on track.

Well, the new look Waves came of age this week, winning The Prestige at PGA West in wire-to-wire fashion. Pepperdine's 8-under team total of 844 in trying conditions at La Quinta resulted in a six-shot win over No. 6 Texas Tech (-2; 850) and No. 5 Stanford (+5; 857). Behind a 2-under 69 by Hitchner, Pepperdine carded a 6-over team score of 290 on Wednesday to hold off Texas Tech, which was 4-over on the day.

In a battle between the top two amateurs in the world, Texas Tech's Ludvig Aberg came from two strokes off the pace at the start of the day to overtake Stanford's Michael Thorbjornsen to win his third consecutive Prestige individual title at 6-under 207.

One can only wonder how many more times Aberg and Thorbjornsen will come down the stretch of a tournament with a championship hanging in the balance during their careers. The top two amateurs in the world, along with Pepperdine's Mouw, staged a three-way battle for the individual title which no one seemed to be able to get firmly in their grasp.

At 7-under, Thorbjornsen took a one-stroke lead into the final round over Mouw and was two strokes clear of Aberg and Loyola Marymount's Tony Hendricks, who both sat at 5-under. Thorbjornsen's lead wasn't so insurmountable to say it was his tournament to lose, but unfortunately the 2021 Western Amateur champion did just that.

Thorbjornsen found himself tied with Aberg at 9-under after 14 holes and despite a bogey on the 15th, was still clinging to a one-stroke advantage after Aberg suffered a double bogey on the same hole.

However, a rollercoaster inward nine caught up with the Wellesley, Mass. native at the most inopportune time, as the Stanford junior saw the title slip from his hands after suffering back-to-back double bogeys on holes 16 and 17 which left him with a 3-over round of 74.

The beneficiary of Thorbjornsen's demise was Aberg whose pars on 16 and 17 led to a four-shot swing, which was enough to secure the championship, even with a bogey on the final hole.

Mouw got to 8-under for the tournament after a birdie on the 12th, but three dropped shots over the last six holes led to a 1-over round of 72 and a second-place finish at 5-under 208. Thorbjornsen finished in third place, two strokes back at 4-under 209.

Results: The Prestige at PGA West
1SwedenLudvig AbergSweden70067-70-70=207
2CAWilliam MouwChino, CA50065-71-72=208
T3South AfricaTyran SnydersSouth Africa40066-70-73=209
T3MAMichael ThorbjornsenWellesley, MA40066-69-74=209
T5MNDerek HitchnerMinneapolis, MN40073-69-69=211

View full results for The Prestige at PGA West

ABOUT THE The Prestige at PGA West

54 hole men's college tournament played in California's Coachella Valley which features an all- star field of many of major college golf's top teams and players. The Prestige is co-hosted by eight time NCAA Champion Stanford University of the Pac 12 Conference and UC Davis of the Big West Conference.

There is a college/am tournament fund raiser the day before the tournament proper begins which is a great way to see first hand how these players (many of whom will go on to PGA Tour careers) go about their business.

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