It was a birdie barrage in Scottsdale.
The Mirabel Golf Club that hosted the Maui Jim Invitational was ripe for scoring, and Washington took advantage. The 18-team field quickly turned into a track meet with record-shattering low scores across the leaderboard. The Huskies finished with a team score of 31-under 809, earning fifth place in a strong field that exhibited the best that college golf has to offer.
Washington started strong on Friday, finishing the first round in a tie for third place with a score of 11-under 269. Washington combined for 23 birdies across the round, led by senior Bo Peng’s exceptional final nine holes which included three birdies and an eagle, carding a score of 5-under 65.
Senior Petr Hruby and junior Taehoon Song methodically navigated the course on the first day, and both finished the round with a score of 4-under 66.
The Huskies began to lose ground on Saturday, ending the day with a team score of 9-under 271 and fell to seventh place. The sudden four-place drop was largely a result of being outplayed by a strong field, and Washington joined New Mexico as the only top-10 teams to not finish the second round with a double-digit score under par.
If there’s a spot where the tournament became out of reach, head coach Alan Murray can point to the sudden birdie drought on holes seven through fifteen during the second round. Washington would finish this stretch with a score of six over par, effectively eliminating the Huskies from contention.
There were still bright spots on Saturday, as senior Petr Hruby continued to excel, carding five birdies and a bogey for a score of four-under par. Teddy Lin caught fire under the warm Arizona sun at the end of the day, notching three straight birdies on the final three holes, but it was too little, too late for the Huskies.
Birdies littered the scorecard in the third round for Washington, but the story of the day was Song’s performance. Song has shined in the final round throughout his collegiate career, and a bogey-free score of 6-under 64 added to this track record. The final round placed the junior in a tie for the best round of the day across the field, as well as a tie for 11th on the individual leaderboard.
Joining the leaderboard was Peng, who finished in a tie for 13th despite struggling on the greens throughout the third round. The China native was able to escape with a score of 1-under 69, his third straight round under par for the tournament.
Hruby remained consistent, notching a final score of three under par to earn a tie for eighth overall on the leaderboard.
Washington’s final team score of 31-under par would finish the tournament 14 shots shy of Auburn, which took home the team title with a score of 45-under 795. Washington can take solace knowing the fifth-place finish was largely a result of exceptional golf from the field, exhibited by second-place Arizona State shattering previous team records with its score of 40-under 800, but still falling short.
Washington aims to bring the low scores home with them as they look towards the Husky Invitational. The Huskies will tee off at the Golf Mountain Golf Course in Bremerton, Washington on Monday, September 19th for the two-day tournament.
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