WSU men’s golf team secures bronze at Pac-12 Championship 

Cougars advance to NCAA regionals


Courtesy of Pac-12 Conference

Pono Yanagi finished in third place at the Pac-12 Championship, the best finish in program history.

ERICK AGUILAR, Evergreen reporter

Following the stiff competition at El Macero, California, the Cougar men’s golf team reached new heights last week with the program’s best-ever finish in the Pac-12 Championships.

In first place was the Stanford team who had three golfers finish in the top 10. The Sun Devils of Arizona State finished in second with just one point ahead of the Cougars. No doubt a remarkable performance from the Cougars, as they tied with Colorado to finish third with a five-under score of 1395.

As if the match could not get more exciting, the Cougs were nipping at the Huskies’ heels all competition.

After the first round, the Huskies led by just a point, 343 to 344. The second round started to spell trouble for the Crimson and Gray as they trailed by six, 349 to 343. The finishing scores for round three were 347 to 349, still in favor of the Huskies.

Walking into the fourth round, the Cougars were just nine points behind but had always just trailed the Husky score. And when it came down to the wire, the Cougars stepped up to the challenge with Pono Yanagi, Sam Renner and Preston Bebich shooting 66, 70 and 66 respectively, setting three scores better than the leading Husky Bo Peng’s score of 71.

With the Cougars needing nine, they walked away from the fourth round with 11 points. With two points over the Huskies, the Cougs took the lead and secured the last podium spot for themselves

In regular fashion, the team was led by Yanagi who finished with a remarkable twelve-under score of 268. Yanagi finished third overall in the individual standings, giving him his fifth collegiate podium finish.

Given Yanagi’s stellar performance this season, he will most likely be selected for NCAA’s individual regional competition.

In a recent sit down with the Daily Evergreen, Yanagi gave some insight prior to the Pac-12 Championships.

“We kinda just stick to what we’ve been doing, playing our last event on El Macero, that course, in general, was a pretty good prep for Stanford [Stanford Golf Club] with the tighter fairways and firmer greens,” Yanagi said.  “But team-wise, you know, we’re doing a lot of drills and just getting ready specifically for Stanford’s course. A few of us have played there a couple of times.”

Yanagi was followed by his teammates Renner, Jaden Cantafio, Bebich, Drayton Joseph and Daniel Kim. who shot 276, 281, 283, 289 and 303, respectively.

“We had moments where it could have gotten away from us, but they stepped up and kept at it. To come out this week and play some of our best golf and end up breaking some records in the process, in this type of environment shows how badly these guys want it and what they’re capable of,” said head coach Dustin White.

With spirits flying high, from their record-setting performance, the Cougars will now prepare for the NCAA regionals to begin on May 15.