Golf takes the title in season opener

By Shaun Knight, Evergreen Men's Golf reporter

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It came down to the wire, but the WSU men’s golf team pulled out the win after 54 holes of golf at the annual Itani Quality Homes Collegiate on Tuesday.

Washington State, led by head Coach Garrett Clegg, held a commanding seven-stroke lead over second-place California State (CSU)-Fullerton heading into Tuesday’s final round of play at Pullman’s Palouse Ridge Golf Club. However, CSU-Fullerton came storming back. 

To return, clutch birdies from WSU senior Blake Snyder and freshman Nick Mandell on holes 14 and 15, respectively, then kept the Cougs ahead for good.

CSU-Fullerton made the play interesting after Ryan Tetrault and Mark Anguiano both birdied hole 18 during Tuesday’s round, bringing the team from three strokes down to one stroke down of first-place Washington State.  

Pars on hole 18 from WSU’s last group, though, clinched the victory for the Cougs.

The tournament hosted teams from Sacramento State, Idaho, San Jose State, Santa Clara, Chico State, British Columbia, Gonzaga, Boise State, Utah Valley, and Seattle.

The tournament-host Cougars were one of only two teams to finish under-par for the event, finishing at a commanding 4-under-par (-4) as a team during the tournament’s three rounds of play. CSU-Fullerton finished in second place on the week at 3-under-par (-3), one stroke behind champion WSU.

The win marks the fourth Itani Quality Homes Collegiate title in five years for WSU, including their second straight. The only other school to take home a tournament title was San Jose State in 2011; San Jose State finished fifth overall at 16-over-par (+16) in this year’s match.

Individually, senior Blake Snyder led WSU by tying for first (T-1) overall in the tournament at 7-under-par (-7). San Jose State’s Cody Blick also finished at T-1 with Snyder. Michael Anderson finished at one-under-par (-1) for the Cougs, followed by Ryan Books at 5-over-par (+5), Nick Mandell at 7-over-par (+7), and Sang Lee at 9-over-par (+9).

Sacramento State finished third overall as a team after Tuesday’s play, followed by Idaho, San Jose State, Santa Clara, Chico State, British Columbia, Gonzaga, Boise State, Utah Valley, and Seattle.

The annual Itani Quality Homes Collegiate is the only regular season tournament hosted by WSU at Palouse Ridge Golf Club for the 2013-14 season.

The Cougs are in action again next Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 16 – 17, as part of the Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational, hosted by rival University of Washington. Next week’s tournament will take place in Bremerton, Wash., at the Gold Mountain Golf Club.