The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

WSU men’s golf struggles at Goodwin Invitational

Cougs finish outside top 20 of an event for first time all year
WSU men’s golf won their first tournament in over three seasons with a victory at the Visit Stockton Invitational.

Heading into the Goodwin Invitational, the WSU men’s golf team was hot. Coming off a third-place finish at Grand Canyon earlier in the month, the Cougars were looking to continue building momentum, with two tournaments left before the postseason. Additionally, as a school, there was somewhat of a revenge factor, as this would be the first time WSU faced off with Stanford, the host school of the Goodwin since former head men’s basketball coach Kyle Smith left WSU to take Stanford’s offer. The Cougars had a chance to put themselves in an even better position heading into the golf postseason, which is right around the corner. 

Instead, things took a turn for the worse. WSU got off to a shaky start and dug themselves into too deep a hole. Even a solid round three was only enough to give the Cougars a final ranking of 21st overall, out of the 31-team field. 

On day one, the Cougars shot 14-over-par. It was a particularly rough day for senior Pono Yanagi, who shot nine-over and did not collect a single birdie. Yanagi has built a reputation this year as one of the top golfers on the team, so his round-one performance was particularly uncharacteristic. 

Day two saw the Cougars improve ever so slightly. They finished with a combined score of eleven over par, still well behind the leaders. Yanagi bounced back on day two, but senior Preston Bebich bogeyed four times, and sophomore Sam Renner had a blow-up on the 18th hole, where he shot a nine (five-over-par). 

WSU did improve on day 3, shooting two-over-par as a team, and moving from 24th to 21st in the rankings, to finish with a combined team score of 27-over-par. Renner, Bebich, & Yanagi (delete ampersand and oxford comma -AA) all had their best rounds of the tournament, but it still wasn’t enough to propel the Cougars into the top 20. This marks a steep fall for Wazzu. Not only had WSU been in the top 20 of a tournament in each of the previous tournaments, but the Cougars had been in the top half of teams in every previous tournament, and had finished in the top 10 in all but one. 

Individually, Renner performed the best for the Cougars. He finished even on day one, and two-under on day three. He finished with eight birdies, and he also captured an elusive eagle (two below par) on the tenth hole in the third round. Renner’s worst day was round two when he shot five-over, but that comes with a bit of an asterisk. He would have finished even, if not for the aforementioned 18th hole, where Renner needed nine strokes to finish. Take away hole 18, and Renner would have finished at two-under for the tournament, and tied for sixth place overall. Instead, he finished (if possible use a different word bc it’s used 5 times in this graph-AA) at a still respectable three-over, tied for 33rd overall. 

Bebich, after shooting three-over and six-over in the first two rounds, pulled off a score of one-under on day three and finished the tournament in a tie for 68th overall, with a final score of eight-over. Bebich compiled eight birdies, but fifteen bogeys, including a double-bogey during day two, offset those birdies. Still, it was a solid finish for Bebich, who improved by seven strokes from round two to round three. 

Yanagi, despite his disastrous round one which saw him shoot nine-over with seven bogeys (two-double bogeys) and not a single birdie, wound up with the third-best finish on the Cougars, and almost caught up to Bebich. Yanagi notched three birdies and four bogeys in round two, scoring one-over. Then on day three, he shot an even round, with four birdies and four bogeys, to give himself a combined score of ten-over, and a final ranking of 92nd overall. An impressive turnaround for Yanagi, as he managed to improve by nine strokes between day one and day three. 

Redshirt Freshman Ben Borgida tied Yanagi at ten-over par, and also tied with him at 92nd overall. He shot six-over in round one, before turning in an impressive score of one-under on round two. During round two he compiled four birdies and three bogeys to become the first Cougar of the tournament to finish below par, and led WSU on day two. Day three did not bode as well for Borgida. He was even headed into hole fifteen, but he did not par any of the final four holes, and his score finished at five-over on day three. Borgida led the Cougars with nine total birdies, but his seventeen bogeys did not pay him any favors. 

Finally, junior Franklin Lydra finished up the tournament with a final score of 19-over par, good for a tie at 154th place overall. Lydra led the team in bogeys, with nineteen, and his best day was the first when he shot five-over par. Round one was the only round when Lydra’s score counted toward the team’s overall score. The top four scores (among five golfers) for each team, per day, would count towards the overall score, and Lydra’s was taken over Yanagi’s nine-over for round one. 

After their disappointing results at the Goodwin, WSU has their work cut out for them. Per the scoreboard rankings, WSU was ranked 56th before beginning play at the Goodwin. Those rankings have yet to be updated, but WSU will likely drop. The NCAA Tournament chooses the top 70 teams in the country, so WSU is on the bubble as it is. They have two more tournaments before the NCAA Tournament, (remove comma -AA) to improve their positioning. On April 1213, they take on the Thunderbird(is this supposed to be plural-AO), (remove comma -AA) at Phoenix, Arizona, before the Pac-12 Championships from April 2628. 

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About the Contributor
Levi is a sophomore broadcast news major from Tacoma, Washington. He loves the Seahawks, Mariners, Kraken and of course the Cougs.