2005: Huskies’ huge rally pulls out Pac-10

The University of Washington men didn’t fold after a first-round 371 left the Huskies 20 shots behind tournament leader Arizona State at the Pac-10 Championship. The Huskies also didn’t give up when they trailed the Sun Devils by 17 shots at the end of Round 3 at Walla Walla (Wash.) Country Club.

As a result, Washington won its first conference championship since 1988, and sophomore Erik Olson became the school’s first individual Pac-10 medalist since current UCLA coach O.D. Vincent won the title, also in ’88.

Arizona State and Washington finished with identical 72-hole scores of 5-over 1,425 April 27, but the Huskies won the league’s tiebreaker as a result of a better cumulative six-man team score on the final day. The best five of six scores counted each day toward the team total.

With a lineup featuring a junior, two sophomores and three freshmen, the Huskies benefited by playing early in the final round and missing most of the stiff winds that reached 30 mph in the afternoon.

“We got really fortunate with Mother Nature,” said Washington coach Matt Thurmond. “But we believed (we could win) throughout the tournament. You just can’t say enough about the way they played the last three days.”

Washington shot 5-under 350 in the final round to Arizona State’s 367. Arizona finished third at

8-over 1,428 and UCLA fourth at 1,432.

Olson won his first college title at 8-under 208, including a final-round 69, to defeat Arizona’s Nathan Lashley by a shot. Sophomore Alex Prugh had the Huskies’ low final round with 68 to tie teammate James Lepp (70) for 10th at even-par 284.

In other conference results:

44Oklahoma State lived up to its No. 1 position in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, posting a nine-shot victory over Oklahoma at the Big 12 Championship May 1 at Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity, Texas. Four Cowboys finished in the top 11, led by runner-up Alex Noren (2-under 214) and third-place Zack Robinson (215), as OSU won its first conference crown since 2000.

44New Mexico outdueled UNLV and BYU to win its third consecutive Mountain West Championship April 30 at Sunriver (Ore.) Resort’s Crosswater Club. Spencer Levin finished second at 7-under 209, Jay Choi tied for fifth at 214 and Charlie Beljan tied for seventh at 215.

44UC-Riverside, led by runner-up Brandon Hillpot (7-under 209), shot 12-under 852 to win the Big West Championship by eight shots over Cal Poly April 26 in Rancho Margarita, Calif.

­– Staff and wire reports

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