The Washington State men’s golf team accomplished something Tuesday it never had before: the Cougars won a tournament in the western half of its state.
Washington State captured its rival hosts tournament, the Husky Invitational held in Bremerton, marking the first time the Cougars have won a tournament in the western portion of the state. WSU finished at 4-over 868, three strokes clear of USC and five ahead of the host Huskies.
“We got off to a shaky start, but give our guys credit. They just hung in there and clawed their way back and just seemed very patient and just played until they were no holes left,” Washington State coach Dustin White said. “You couldn’t really draw a better way to start your season.”
The win was the fourth for White during his tenure with the Cougars.
Junior Jaden Cantafio and senior Pono Yanagi both finished in the top five on the individual leaderboard. Cantafio led the Cougars after he shot 4-under 68 in the final round to finish at 3-under 213, which was solo third. He moved up 15 places over his final round, which included five birdies and an eagle on the par-4 18th. Cantafio ended his day one stroke behind Washington’s Taehoon Song and five strokes behind USC’s Jackson Rivera, who won the tournament. Yanagi finished at 2-under 214 for the tournament, tied for fifth.
“The teams that we were paired with and that we were competing with, these are these are high-level teams and you know, a lot of respect goes to those guys,” White said. “I mean, it’s hard to win in college golf, and anytime you get a chance to be in contention, there’s no other feeling that’s like it. So we’re just really appreciative of the fact that we had some teams that pushed us, and I think we all made each other better.”
Oregon finished in fourth, one shot behind Washington, and Long Beach State tallied a fifth-place finish.
Rivera, a sophomore, has finished in the top 10 in four of his past five starts. It’s the first win of his college career.
Craziness at in Fort Collins
In terms of craziness, there was plenty of it at the Ram Masters Classic at Fort Collins Country Club in Colorado. There were three holes-in-one, an albatross and a tournament record tied during the two-day, 54-hole event.
UC San Diego’s Eliot Bunyaviroch aced the par-3 second hole with an 8-iron in the first round. Creighton’s Shaun Campbell hit a pitching wedge on the ninth hole in the second round, and his ball went in the cup. Then Texas A&M Commerce’s Kittiphong Phaithuncharoensuk made an ace on the par-3 14th during the second round. Northern Colorado’s Garrett Willis then had an albatross, an 8-iron from 210 yards on the par-5 first hole in the second round.
Host Colorado State finished at 17 under for the tournament, tying the event record.
Big win for Cardinal, Thorbjornsen
Elsewhere, Stanford got a signature early-season win against a packed field at the Fighting Illini Invitational at Olympia Fields, beating second-place Florida and Illinois by 13 shots.
The Cardinal, ranked second in the Golfweek Sagarin rankings, shot even during the final round. Stanford led after every round, and junior Michael Thorbjornsen earned his first collegiate victory. He finished at 7-under 203, beating Florida’s Ricky Castillo and Illinois’ Adrien Dumont de Chassart by one shot. Thorbjornsen became the first Cardinal to win the tournament since Maverick McNealy in 2015.
Thor trailed by six shots at the turn, but a 4-under 31 coming in propelled him to his first collegiate win! 🔥@michaelt_1 joins @PRodgersGolf (’11, ’12), @Cam_A_Wilson (2013) and Maverick McNealy (’14, ’15) as Cardinal to win the Fighting Illini Invitational! #GoStanford pic.twitter.com/bVl69qFTWp
— Stanford Men’s Golf (@StanfordMGolf) September 18, 2022
Arizona State’s Ryggs Johnston finished solo fourth at 5-under 205 while Tommy Kohl of Illinois was solo fifth at 4 under.
More transfer news
The NCAA Division I Board of Directors recently made changes to the transfer portal, including opening and closing dates for specific sports. For men’s golf, the portal will open May 4, 2023, and close June 17 2023. For women’s golf, it will open April 27, 2023 and close June 10, 2023. There will also be a window for golfers to enter between Dec. 1-15, 2022.
In addition, the Division I Council is now permitting athletes who plan to enroll at another program after graduating to enter the transfer portal at any time.
Cameron Jourdan covers college and amateur golf for Golfweek. Got a college or amateur story? Email him at [email protected].