Men's Golf Stands Fourth At Itani Quality Homes Collegiate
PULLMAN, Wash. - The Gonzaga University men's golf team got solid play throughout the lineup Monday as the Bulldogs opened the 2012 fall season at the very windy Itani Quality Homes Collegiate at the Palouse Ridge Golf Club.
"The wind was a real factor today with steady winds of 20-25 miles per hour and gusts around 35 on exposed areas," explained head coach Robert Gray.
Despite the windy conditions, four of the five Zag golfers finished the first day of the 54-hole tournament sitting in the top 20.
Sophomore Brendan Connolly shot 77-75 for a 152 over the 7,308-yard, par 72 layout while classmate James Fahy shot 75-77 for a 152. Both players are tied for 12th going into the final 18 holes Tuesday.
"Brendan played pretty decent most of the day," stated Gray. "He had a couple of double bogeys but didn't let it bother him. That allowed him to put himself in position for a good individual finish tomorrow.
"James had a solid second round going at +1 but ran into some trouble on the final hole and ended up with a 77. That's tough to work so hard to put together a great round and have that happen on the final hole."
Senior Travis Johnsen was close behind both Connolly and Fahy at 153 after rounds of 75-78 to tie for 16th and freshman Sean Walsh was another stroke back at 154 with rounds of 82-72 to tie for 19th.
"Sean struggled in the first round but did a great job of bouncing back the second round," explained Gray of his only newcomer. "After making double bogey on the 9th hole in his second round, he could've gone south but he stayed with it and posted the fourth best score in the field for the day. That's great to see out of a freshman in his first collegiate event."
Rounding out play was sophomore Erik Krzyzanowski who shot an 86-79 for a 165. Junior Peter Gullickson, playing as an individual, shot an 80-81 for a 161.
The Bulldogs had rounds of 309-302 for a 36-hole score of 611. Their score has them in fourth place and two shots out of third. Host Washington State University leads the 11-team tournament field at 597 for a 3-shot lead over the University of Arizona.
"If there's one thing we need to improve on it's our finish," stated Gray. "Early last year we had some issues with finishing our rounds and we really hurt ourselves today on our final three holes in the second round, playing them +8. With a short par 3 and two par 5's, that wasn't the way we wanted to bring it in. That's the difference in being in the hunt to win. That being said, I'm pleased with how we played under today's conditions, not having played in much wind since the team arrived on campus."
Washington State's Kent Hagen, playing as an individual and Arizona's Dylan Healy are the leaders after the first day. Hagen shot a 72-71 for a 1-under par 143, while Healy had a 75-68 for his 1-under par 143.
Gonzaga finishes the tournament Tuesday with the final 18-holes.
"Tomorrow we need to continue to do what we did today but finish like we should," Gray said as he looked forward to the final day of the tournament. "Weather is predicted to be cooler in the morning but winds much lighter at 10 miles per hour. If we can get our and post a low score, then we may have a chance for second place. We have some team's right behind us too, so our finish is critical and will make or break our week."