Derek Hitchner (Pepperdine Athletics photo)
Pepperdine earned its second team title of the spring on Wednesday winning the 76th Western Intercollegiate at Pasatiempo Golf Course in Santa Cruz, Calif.
Behind medalist Derek Hitchner, the 11th-ranked Waves finished at 16-under 1034 for the 54-hole event at Pasatiempo to earn a nine-stroke win over Oregon (-7) while California finished third at even par.
On the strength of a lights-out second round that saw the Waves shoot 22-under par, Pepperdine enjoyed a 14-stroke advantage over the Ducks heading into the final round, which was more than enough cushion to absorb an 11-over 361 over the final 18 holes to cement their second win of the spring.
"We just went lights out in the second round," said Pepperdine head coach Michael Beard. "Today was totally different. The wind was coming in from an opposite direction and it was cold. We got off to a slow start but were able to hand on at the end."
It took Hitchner 45 tournaments for Pepperdine's ironman to win his first collegiate tournament but it was well worth the wait, as he joins a list of past champions which includes Ken Venturi, Johnny Miller, Mark O’Meara, Patrick Rogers, Maverick McNealy and Scottie Scheffler, to name a few.
The Minneapolis, Minn. native entered the day just one stroke off the lead shared by his Pepperdine teammate Sam Choi and Oregon's Owen Avrit. The 36-hole co-leaders stumbled just enough on Wednesday by carding rounds of 73 and 74, leaving the door ajar for Hitchner, who finished with a 1-over 71 to earn his first collegiate individual title.
It also marks the third consecutive year a Pepperdine golfer has won the Blue Jacket, following Joe Highsmith's victory in 2021 and Dylan Menante last year. Alum Jason Allred also earned a Blue Jacket in 2000.
"It feels great," Hitchner told the Golf Channel following his win. "I had no idea I was in position (to win) coming down the stretch. I feel very fortunate to follow in the footsteps of Joe and Dylan. They're both outstanding players and it feels pretty cool to be holding the same trophy as they did."
Pepperdine has had an impressive spring thus far, finishing in the top three in five out of six events, including a wire-to-wire win at The Prestige
The Waves will enter the postseason as a heavy favorite at the West Coast Conference Championships, which get underway on April 27 in Bremerton, Wash.
ABOUT THE Western Intercollegiate
54-hole men's college tournament hosted by
San Jose State University. “The Western” is
of the most highly recognized national
tournaments, conducted since 1946
Golf Club; a historic venue where a player’s
is always well-tested. Pasatiempo perennially
ranks among the best by all of the major golf
The format is slightly different than most college
events. Six-player teams take the best five scores
each round to determine the team score.
View Complete Tournament Information