Fresno, Calif. - Bolstered by their epic run the day prior, the Tiger golf team put the finishing touches on their wire-to-wire win at the First Annual Nick Watney Invitational on Tuesday, Sept. 30 as the team dominated the field by 20 strokes to win the title. Pacific ended the tournament at 26-under par, their second lowest tournament total in program history and best since going 46-under par in 2012 at the Pacific Invitational. The win for the Tigers was their first of the season and first since taking the Big West Championship tournament to end the 2012-13 season. The Tigers won twice during the 2012-13 season en route to a run in the NCAA Regionals.
"I am thoroughly impressed by this team and their performance this week," said head coach Chris Hill. "This was a total team effort with all of the guys contributing to the win."
"At the top, both Byron (Meth) and Matt (Lee) were awesome and hats off to Byron for coming up with the win in impressive fashion. In addition to those two guys, it was a great bounce back week for both SJ (Maeng) and Anthony (Madrid). It's pretty special to get four guys inside of the top-11 at the tournament. They all stuck to the game plan and executed it to perfection."
"Now we will get back to work and prep for our trip to Utah. We are going to go there and compete and hopefully come away with another top finish."
Individually, the Tigers also captured the individual title as senior Byron Meth grabbed his first championship of the year with a 10-under, two-day performance. The Tigers' ace used a -7, 65 in round two to take the lead and then held off his competitors on the final day to claim the title. Meth's win marked the second of his career after winning the 2013 WCC Championships last season. He adds the 2014 Nick Watney championship to his list of titles over the last five months, a list that includes the U.S. Amateur Public Links championship.
Meth was able to hold off his challengers in the final round of play with a -1, 71 as he came up with a birdie on the par-4, 16th, that proved to be the difference on the day. Meth had given back a pair of strokes just after the turn after pushing his card to -11 early with a pair of birdies in the first five holes.
While claiming the individual title, Meth bolstered a solid overall Tiger effort as Pacific claimed three of the top-10 spots on the leaderboard in their second tournament of the season. Steady as always, junior Matt Lee claimed his second-straight third place finish as the second-year Tiger ended the tournament at -7. He clawed his way up the leaderboard on the final day of play with a team-best -2, 70 as he pushed Meth for most of the day for the lead. Right behind Meth and Lee, sophomore SeungJae Maeng came up with his best career finish as he ended in sixth place at six-under. Maeng finished his tournament with a 72, finishing all three rounds at par or better.
Freshman Anthony Madrid just missed his first career top-10 finish after posting a +2, 74 on Tuesday afternoon. For the tournament, Madrid went two-under after carding a -7, 65 in round two. Playing in his first tournament as a Tiger, junior Colten Passey finished four-over and in a tie for 29th while playing unattached as an individual.
As a team, the Tigers ended the third round one-under to complete the tournament with three-straight under-par showings. The last time the Tigers went underpar in all three rounds at a tournament was at the 2012 Pacific Invitational.
The host Bulldogs of Fresno State finished second overall at the tournament at six-under.
The win was the first of head coach Hill's career in his second tournament at the helm of Pacific's program.
Pacific is back in action on Oct. 6-7 at the Utah Invitational in Park City, Utah before coming home to host their annual SCVB Pacific Invitational at the end of October.
Correction from the previous day, due to a typo in the record book, the second round score of 18-under finished as the second-best round in Pacific program history, two-back of the record set in the third round of the 2012 Pacific Invitational. The listed par-71 was incorrect in the record book as the tournament was changed to a par-72 in 2012 resulting in the record-setting performance.
|1||Byron Meth (1)||70||65||71||-10, 206|
|T3||Matt Lee (2)||68||71||70||-7, 209|
|6||SeungJae Maeng (5)||69||69||72||-6, 210|
|T11||Anthony Madrid (4)||75||65||74||-2, 214|
|T49||Drew Bender (3)||74||76||75||+9, 225|