Tag: Sports

National Signing Day Looms Large for Arizona State Football

TEMPE — It’s National Signing Day, when 17 and 18 year old boys decide put their signature where there mouth is. A day where fax machines get their biggest workout of the year and after all is said and done, a ritual as tried and true as any other rears it’s ugly head.

Middle-aged men will be complaining and in some cases cursing these young boys and their families.

It’s disgusting…but it happens, every year.

I get it, they want what is best for their favorite team or Alma Mater, but “C’mon Man,” this is a young man who is in most cases still in high school. The biggest decision that I had to make my senior year was whether to go to Burger King or Pizza Hut for lunch; but I never had somebody twice my age calling me out on social media because I just wasn’t in the mood for a Whopper.

Friday Night Lights

Eno Benjamin Brings Texas Football to Tempe

High school football is king in Texas.

Despite all the Hook ‘Em, Gig ‘Em and whatever inappropriate things said at Baylor, the state of Texas lives and breathes for high school football.

A whopping 46 players on ESPN’s Top 300 hail from the state of Texas with Georgia and California trailing but not close. 15 percent of the country’s top-ranked players call the Lone Star State home and the third best running back from the talent-rich state has already enrolled in Tempe.

Eno Benjamin is from Wylie East High School in Wylie, Texas just outside Dallas and has been one the best recruiters for the Sun Devils.

An early enrollee, Benjamin could not wait to get on campus and arrived in Tempe the day after announcing his commitment at the All-America Bowl.

Benjamin not only excels on the gridiron but also in the classroom, he is in the Barrett Honors College and looking to major in business law.

The Alabama Connection

The top teams stay at the top due to recruiting and the Alabama Crimson Tide is a perfect example.

Despite losing in the National Championship earlier this month to Clemson, Nick Saban and his coaching squad has had a top recruiting class year in and year out. This year is no different, ESPN.com ranks Alabama at the top of the heap with 24 commits including three 5-star and 17 4-star recruits.

By comparison, Arizona State checks in at No. 37 on the same list with six 4-star and 11 3-star recruits. If ever there was a team to emulate, it would be Alabama: and Arizona State is doing just that.

Can Barnett Overtake Manny Wilkins at QB?

It started with wooing quarterback Blake Barnett who played in Bama’s first game of the 2016 season defeating one of Arizona State’s most-hated rivals—the University of Southern California.

Barnett was nearly perfect against the Trojans connecting on 5-of-6 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown. After seeing limited playing time, Barnett left Alabama after week four and signed with the Devils in December.

It was originally believed that Barnett would have to sit out the 2017 season but Barnett found out the day before National Signing Day that he would be eligible to play opening day due to an appeal ruling.

Next up on the Alabama hit list was Brandon Ruiz.

The Sun Devils just bid farewell to unanimous All-American kicker Zane Gonzalez and were worried that they would never be able to fill his shoe.

The local product out of Gilbert Williams Field High School would routinely nail 70+ yard field goals and was thus heavily recruited by Nick Saban and Alabama. On June 10th, 2016 Ruiz committed to Alabama…seven months later, he opted to stay true and committed to Arizona State.

Flipping former Alabama players and commits is one thing but the real coup de grace is being able to acquire one of the Crimson Tide’s top recruiters.

Napier Brings Recruiting Clout to Tempe

On Monday, Arizona State announced that Alabama’s Wide Receivers Coach Billy Napier was named Lead Offensive Coordinator. Over the past five years at Alabama, Napier was an integral part of the 2011 and 2015 National Championship teams and coached in the 2016 game.

Prior to his time at Alabama, Napier was the Offensive Coordinator/ Quarterbacks Coach at Clemson under Dabo Swinney.

The 2008 Clemson recruiting class was ranked as the No. 2 class in the country and the 2009 offense set an all-time school record for most points in a season under his tutelage.

 

Bishop Gorman High School

In Nevada, there is only one high school that matters, and it is Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High School. Five of the top six rated players in Nevada are all on the same squad including defensive backs Bubba Bolden and Alex Perry. Bolden had originally committed to Southern Cal but backed out when he learned that his best friend Perry had committed to Arizona State.

Bolden Looks Incredibly Happy Here

In an announcement akin to Snoop Dogg, Jr. committing to UCLA, Bolden re-committed to USC at the All-American Bowl stunning Sun Devil faithful everywhere.

There are still those holding out hope that Graham and company have the clout to flip Bolden to join Perry and Scottsdale Saguaro’s KJ Jarrell, the No. 5 ranked player in Arizona and the No. 28 safety in the country.

If the Devils were to score a coup with flipping Bolden and then he and Perry would go on to perform as expected, it would bode very well for an excellent recruiter like Napier to have a BG pipeline. Imagine the amazing things that the remaining three 4-star recruits from Gorman could have done for Arizona State.

Staying True to ASU

It’s no secret that the “School Down South” has difficulty recruiting when it comes to football. Of the top 20 recruits according to ESPN.com, only three have committed to The University of Arizona. Arizona State on the other hand has been ‘in the mix’ for every top player coming out of Arizona with nine commits from the Grand Canyon State including three of the top five.

Can Jarrell Save This Defense?

The state’s top player, offensive tackle Austin Jackson visited four Pac-12 schools including Oregon, Washington, USC but saved Arizona State for his last official visit on December 2nd. He has kept his selection close to the vest but has since eliminated Oregon from his final three.

Scottsdale’s Saguaro High School had a decent 2016 season.

They dominated each opponent they faced going 14-0 with a phenomenal 183-30 scoring advantage in the 4A State Playoffs and finished the year as the the state’s 2nd ranked team behind 6A State Champion Chandler High School.

In addition to the aforementioned safety, KJ Jarrell, three more of Arizona’s top 20 players are from Saguaro High School and have committed to Arizona State. Offensive guard Corey Stephens, outside linebacker Kyle Soelle and tight end Jared Poplawsksi are all rated as 3-star recruits and will look to maintain the strong pipeline to Arizona State.

Other schools in the southeast Valley are staying true to ASU with the state’s No. 3 and No.4 players coming from Gilbert’s Highland High and Chandler’s Basha High. Both Tyler Johnson and Ryan Kelley are ranked by ESPN as 4-star recruits but only Johnson is listed on ESPN’s Top 300.

The tide is starting to turn, no longer are the top players in the state looking to get away to the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles or the tradition of playing in the SEC or Big Ten. The Sun Devils are on the cusp of greatness and this year’s Signing Day is merely the beginning of something great.

I hope you are along for the ride.

MLS Preseason Returns to Tucson

TUCSON — For decades, Major League Baseball teams have escaped to the Arizona desert for Spring Training and for the past six years, Major League Soccer has also warmed up to the desert.

When Tucson lost their lost two Spring Training teams after the 2010 season, the City of Tucson knew that it needed to lure pro sports teams to the Old Pueblo during the late winter and early spring—enter FC Tucson and Major League Soccer. The once-home of the Arizona Diamondbacks is now home to Jon Pearlman and FC Tucson.

Completed in 2013, the North Stadium at the Kino Sports Complex comfortably sits 1,800 fans with two loges, a press box and an overhang that blocks out the blistering sun and the occasional rain storm.

The Past Two MLS Cup Champions will meet

Over the years, the Desert Diamond Cup has become the premiere preseason event for Major League Soccer with six teams playing playing in a double-elimination format on February 18 and 25.

In addition to the Cup, there will be three other matches including four additional MLS teams.

The action gets underway on February 27 at 6:30 pm at Kino North Stadium when the Portland Timbers face off against the New York Red Bulls.

The opening ceremonies will honor several people that have made soccer in Tucson not only a possibility but the success that it is today.

Tucson Legends of Soccer

A total of 18 community leaders, six coaches, nine current and former players and five referees will be recognized for their efforts in helping make Tucson and southern Arizona a thriving soccer community. Three members of the local sports media will be honored including Dave Ord and Greg Hansen from the Arizona Daily Star and Tucson Sentinel’s Ted Preselski.

Former FC Tucson players now playing in the bigs will also be honored including New York Red Bulls’ Luis Robles, Real Salt Lake’s Justin Glad and Ricardo Velazco. It will be a triumphant homecoming for Velazco who played at Sunnyside High School and Tucson Soccer Academy before spending three seasons with the men in black.

Desert Friendlies

Following the recognition of the Tucson Legends of Soccer, it is time to get down to business.

The top-ranked team at he end of the regular season in 2016, the New York Red Bulls will take the pitch against the Portland Timbers. The Timbers won their first MLS Cup in 2015 and always represent well in Tucson.

The following Friday night, February 4 will see a preview of the Cascadia Cup. In a rematch of the largest crowd ever at Kino North Stadium last year, rivals Seattle Sounders and the Portland Timbers will clash with more than just pride on the line.

This marquee matchup pits the top two teams of the past two years with the Timbers winning the MLS Cup in 2015 and the Sounders as the defending MLS Cup champion.

This game was intense last year and both teams will be looking to admonish the other and claim dominance in the desert.

Tickets for both games are $15.50 for children, $22.00 for adults of get a four-pack for $70.50.

 

Desert Diamond Cup

The Wife & Me Last Year

If you are looking for more bang for your buck ,the Desert Diamond Cup offers up three games for the price of one on February 18 and 25.

Beginning at 1:00 pm at Kino North Stadium, the New England Revolution take on Tim Howard and the Colorado Rapids. Howard, if you don’t recall, was the goalie for the U.S. Men’s team in the 2010 and 2014 World Cup.

The New York Red Bulls take on 2013 MLS Cup champion, Sporting Kansas City at 3:30 pm with New York City Football Club and the Houston Dynamo providing the nightcap at 6:00 pm.

The following Saturday will offer up three more games with the No. 5 and No. 6 teams playing at 1:00 pm, No. 3 vs. No.4 at 3:30 pm and the top two seeds playing at 6:00 pm.

“This event is important to the community because it has brought groups together that are vital for the success of Tucson as a city,” FC Tucson General Manager Jon Pearlman said. “Through private and public partnership, great sponsors, the work of Pima County, the City of Tucson, Visit Tucson, and the Town of Oro Valley, FC Tucson is proud to again be the MLS Western Hub of Preseason and bring the beautiful game to Southern Arizona.”

16 of the Best Sports Bars in Tucson

The food and beverage scene in Tucson and Southern Arizona has been on fire lately. First it was featured in the New York Times and USA Today boasting the culinary landscape, then leading craft beer website Beer Advocate did a focus on the bustling brewery scene in the Old Pueblo. But this is a sports town. Where’s the love for the locally-owned and operated sports bars?

This is a magical time of year for sports fans.

Football season is in full swing; the Cubs finally won a World Series while both the NHL and NBA seasons began last month. There is a new professional hockey team playing at the Convention Center and they’re currently leading their division.

The region’s favorite team, University of Arizona men’s basketball opened the 2016-17 season with a thrilling victory >>>more

Article originally published on TucsonFoodie.com.

Camp Tontozona Ushers in 2016 Arizona State Football Season

Camp

The cool pines of Payson are an amazing getaway for Valley residents in August when the mercury reaches into the upper reaches of 110+ degrees for days on end. The Sun Devil football team returned to Camp Tontozona earlier this week for some time away from the heat, cell phones and all other modern distractions.

A week to focus on team building and bonding that has been a tradition since 1960 when legendary Frank Kush was at the helm. Save for a brief stretch during the Dennis Erickson era, the Tontozona practices have always signaled the beginning of a new football season for Arizona State University.

Coach Graham addressing the team

Coach Graham addressing the team

The team arrived on Tuesday night and got settled into their bunks and prepared for a return to the hallowed practice grounds on Wednesday morning, but Mother Nature had another idea. The team had to move to a nearby turf field due to the rain and head coach Todd Graham was the first to admit that it felt a little off.

“It’s a little bit different starting out here, but I like it,” he said.  “It’s a great surface to practice on, so if it rains, we’ll come down here.”

The biggest question surrounding the program and the only thing that people seem to be interested in is the quarterback situation. This year’s stable conssists 0f four highly sought after signal-callers but the worry on most people’s minds is that there is a total of zero combined games played by the group…zero. Redshirt sophomore Manny Wilkins seems to be the leader but redshirt freshmen Brady White and Bryce Perkins are hot on his heels with true freshman Dillon Sterling-Cole proving to be just as capable as the others.

Is Manny Wilkins the starter?

Is Manny Wilkins the starter?

Aside from the field generals, another area for deep concern is the Sun Devil secondary. Last year’s group was abysmal giving up an NCAA-worst 337.8 passing yards per game. No lead was ever safe when it came to the Sun Devil defense including the embarrassing post-season performance against the University of West Virginia in the Cactus Bowl. In front of a home crowd in neighboring Phoenix, the Sun Devil secondary allowed a record-breaking 532 yards in the air and five passing touchdowns.

Defensive backs coach TJ Rushing knows that he has his work cut out for him this year and into the future. his main focus will be on deep coverage and worked on deep plays for a good portion of the time at camp.

Saturday’s final practice and scrimmage is the pinnacle for the week when droves of Sun Devil faithful head up the mountain making the small area a logistical nightmare. I have memories of driving around for what seemed like forever, looking for a parking spot. Once that was achieved, we had a good 20-30 minute walk ahead of us before arriving to the practice field.

Conditioning drills

Conditioning drills

Given these difficulties, the alumni association and other student groups have chartered buses to get the most people there with the fewest amount of vehicles clogging up the works. If you are planning to go, plan to leave early and follow these simple steps courtesy of 12News.com:

  • Parking for the general public for Saturday, Aug. 6 will be in a closed section on the eastbound side of SR260 near Camp Tontozona Road.  Please follow the message boards, speed limit, and event parking signs on SR260 to the designated event parking areas.
  • Coming from Phoenix/Payson, please keep right on SR 260 once you leave Star Valley.  As drivers approach mile marker 267 they should merge to the right and proceed through the traffic restrictions and follow signs to the designated event parking area.
  • Coming westbound on SR 260 from point’s east, drivers will be asked to turn left at Kohl’s Ranch Rd.   Gila County Sherriff’s will assist with traffic turning across SR 260.  Please follow the signs and DO NOT use Christopher Creek Rd. or Spring Creek Rd.
  • There will be a limited number of shuttle carts on Camp Tontozona Rd. for limited mobility and disabled guests who may need assistance. Due to the expected large crowd and high volume of traffic, the shuttle service could potentially have a long wait. Fans should prepare for a long walk into Camp Tontozona from the parking areas.

Camp Tontozona is a beautiful place and a great tradition for fans of Arizona State football. The scrimmage is fun to watch and there is a great family atmosphere and vibe going on. However, after being only a couple times, I find it difficult to justify a return trip especially since I have lived in Tucson for the past nine years.

If you have never been, it’s a must-see, but plan accordingly.

FC Tucson Begins Playoff Push on Friday

 

FCTucsonAfter a convincing 5-0 victory over Albuquerque Sol FC to clinch the top seed in the Western Conference, the Men in Black could relax in its season finale against the Ventura County Fusion.

There was no relaxation on Saturday night at Kino North Stadium.

After a first half that saw the teams tied at one apiece, the Fusion jumped out to an early second half lead and looked to secure a spot in the playoffs themselves. It wasn’t until the 77th minute that FC Tucson opened the scoring flood gates and hammered the Fusion into submission with four unanswered goals including a hat trick from Afonso Pinhiero.

FC Tucson

FC Tucson

“When you go through moments like this, something you’ve been striving for, you start to think about your family, the ones who love you and the ones that are back home,” Pinheiro said as he shed a tear. “It’s been really hard to be away from home and I know all my family’s been at home watching the games.”

The PDL is the Premier Development League for players under 23 years old and is divided into four conferences and 10 divisions divided geographically. Of the 49 teams in the league, 22 of those advanced to the playoffs including seven teams from the four divisions in the Western Conference.

FC Tucson and the Charlotte Eagles out of the South Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference are the only teams with a first-round bye while six teams from each conference will battle for a semifinal berth. The smaller Southern and Central Conferences only send four teams to the postseason with the Conference champions taking on the Eastern and Western Conference champions respectively.

7.13-Report-640x360

Men in White?

The Men in Black will face the winner of the Calgary Foothills and Seattle Sounders U23. The two teams finished the season as the No. 1 and 2 teams in the Northwest Division after Calgary bested Seattle 3-2 on Sunday. Thursday’s match between the teams will be the third consecutive match with Calgary winning the previous two meetings.

 

The playoffs are nothing new for FC Tucson as they have finished atop their division for three consecutive seasons. Unfortunately, they have yet to win a conference championship losing in 2014 to the Kitsap Pumas and last year to the aforementioned Seattle U23 squad.

Tickets for Friday’s games can be obtained by calling (520) 334-115, by e-mail at sales@fctucson.com or online here.

Meep Meep! Tucson Secures Pro Hockey Team

roadrunners

There’s a new team in town and this one seems to be here for the long haul.

Tucson has had it’s flirtations with pro baseball with the Sidewinders, Toros, Padres as well as the spring training home for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks. Eventually each of the following left the Old Pueblo and with it a gaping hole longing for something to root for other than the University of Arizona.

When it was announced earlier this year that the Arizona Coyotes were thinking of moving their top-level affiliate team from Springfield, Mass. the city was abuzz with the opportunity that it would actually move to Tucson. There were the typical nay-sayers and detractors commenting that Tucson couldn’t support a pro franchise even on the AAA-level or there was not enough of a fan base for ice hockey in the desert.

Boy, were they wrong.

LeBlanc. Chayka & Tippett

LeBlanc. Chayka & Tippett

In an announcement at the Tucson Convention Center on Saturday, the new local American Hockey League franchise, and affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes, revealed its name to be the Tucson Roadrunners. The organization held a “name the team” contest and Roadrunners was the “overwhelming favorite,” said Coyotes co-owner Anthony LeBlanc.

“We were just so overwhelmed with the support we saw and the names that were submitted,” LeBlanc said. “We knew that was the right name.”

The owners, coaches and prominent representatives were all on hand for the announcement.

“The turnout was incredible. Quite frankly it exceeded my expectations,” said Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. “There has been excitement. It’s a community that wants good things to happen and it’s a sports community. So you have this level of sports activity it just makes people feel better about it and it creates a good buzz.”

New head coach Mark Lamb is eager to develop new players for the big boys in Glendale. Lamb’s coaching resume includes six seasons as an assistant to Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett when Tippett was behind the bench in Dallas from 2002-09.

Also in the mix are are Mark Hardy as the primary assistant coach and Corey Schwab who will coach the goaltenders. Hardy also coached with Tippett; both were assistants with the Los Angeles Kings under Andy Murray from 1999-2002.

New Head Coach Mark Lamb

New Head Coach Mark Lamb

Now on to the big business of getting the home of the Roadrunners renovated. While the Tucson IceCats have played at the Convention Center for years, there will a litany of improvements made to the location in preparation of the new minor league team. The Rio Nuevo Board approved $3.7 million in upgrades to the arena.

The project will include locker room renovations, a new Zamboni, new dasher boards, an additional video system, renovation of the ice making equipment, and a new retail store.

The season won’t start until the end of October, but on Oct. 9 the team will host a red-and-white intrasquad game in which all of the Coyotes’ NHL players will play along with the AHL roster from the Roadrunners. Admission is free, but the Coyotes are asking fans for a $5 donation upon entry, with all proceeds going toward the University of Arizona hockey program.

The Roadrunners will play in the American Hockey League’s Pacific Division. In 2015-16, the Pacific Division featured the AHL affiliates of the Anaheim Ducks (San Diego Gulls), Calgary Flames (Stockton Heat), Colorado Avalanche (San Antonio Rampage), Dallas Stars (Texas Stars), Edmonton Oilers (Bakersfield Condors), Los Angeles Kings (Ontario Reign) and San Jose Sharks (San Jose Barracuda).

The season will begin in earnest on October 28 and ticket prices will range from $10 to $40 per game with discounts for season ticket packages. Visit arizonacoyotes.com/ahl or call 866-415-4695. Fans can also email ticket representatives at ahlhockey@arizonacoyotes.com.

Stanford, UCLA eliminated from men’s golf championships

STANFORDMenschampThe No. 1 seed Cardinal defeated the University of Illinois in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, 3-2, on the strength of Patrick Rodgers’ 3-and-2 win along with Cameron Wilson and Viraat Badwhar’s 1-up victories. Stanford would battle with Oklahoma State in the semifinals before dropping the match 3-2 on Badwhar’s missed putt on 18. The Bruins were not as fortunate, losing 4-1 with Lorens Chan the only victor on the UCLA squad.

Wilson was paired in the quarterfinals with Illinois’ Alex Burge and was met with a bigger challenge than expected. Wilson found himself 1-down on several occasions but was able to bounce back, taking the 1-up advantage on the 17th hole, the same hole on which he won the national championship on Monday.

Badwhar and his opponent, Charlie Danielson, took viewers on a roller coaster ride. Badwhar led by three strokes on two separate occasions before pulling out the 1-up victory. Rodgers dominated Jonathan Hauter 3-and-2 after dropping three of the first four holes.

Evert Wilson - NCAA photo

National Champion – Stanford’s Cameron Wilson Evan Wilson photo

In the semifinals against Oklahoma State, Wilson excelled over the Cowboys’ Ian David, winning 4-and-2. Rodgers battled with Jordan Niebrugge through 12 holes before winning the skin on 13 and 14 and maintaining the lead throughout the next three holes to win 2-and-1. The most intense match of the day was between Maverick McNealy and Oklahoma State’s Talor Gooch.

The duo dueled back and forth with neither taking a lead larger than one stroke. Gooch’s birdie on 16 and McNealy’s bogey on 17 seemingly sealed the victory for Gooch until he followed up with a bogey on 18 to force a playoff. They battled for two more holes until Gooch finally pulled out the victory.

All the pressure of the match then rested on the shoulders of Viraat Badwhar, who had not won a hole throughout his match with Wyndham Clark. Badwhar battled back from 3-down after 13 holes and won the 14th and 15th holes. The pair tied on the 16th and 17th holes, and it came down to Badwhar needing a birdie on 18 to extend the match, which he pulled to the left, handing Oklahoma State the victory.

 

ucla-logoThe Bruins’ chances heading into the quarterfinals were shaky at best, but the squad finished up strong down the stretch to secure the No. 6 seed and would have to face No. 3 seed Louisiana State. Lorens Chan started strong with a 2-up lead through the first three holes over LSU’s Stewart Jolly. The pair started on the 10th hole and by the 17th hole, they were all square once again. Chan would pick up four strokes over the next three holes and would be declared the victor 4-and-3 after the pair both hit par on the sixth hole.

Preston Valder matched up nicely with LSU’s Curtis Thompson as the pair halved nine of the holes on the day. Valder fell in an early 2-down hole after three holes but would gain the strokes back on the 14th hole with a birdie putt while Thompson bogeyed. Valder would take a 1-up lead after the 16th hole but returned to all-square after 17.

The 2014 UCLA Men's Golf Team

The 2014 UCLA Men’s Golf Team

The two would remain so for the next three holes until Valder won the skin at the third hole. Thompson would square it up down the stretch on seven but Valder would take the 1-up lead heading into the final hole. The biggest disappointment came on the ninth hole where Valder settled for a double bogey to lose two strokes and the match to Thompson 1-up.

UCLA’s Jonathan Garrick played a similar match to Valder against LSU’s Smylie Kaufman. Garrick started off in a 2-down hole after the 10th hole and then went on to halve 13 holes with Kaufman. Garrick never led in the match although he did win the fourth and 12th holes.

The Bruins’ Matt Pinnizzotto took an early 2-up lead over the Tigers’ Zach Wright but found himself 2-down after the first ten holes. After winning the skin on the second hole, there was a glimmer of hope with the pair halving the next four holes. Dropping back to 2-down and halving the next hole closed the door on Pinnizzotto, losing 2-and-1.

The most consistent golfer on the Bruins, Anton Arboleda, had the poorest performance in match play against LSU’s Benjamin Taylor. Arboleda, like Pinnozzotto, had a 2-up lead after three holes and watched it slip away. Arboleda gave up skins on 13 and 15 before gaining one back on 16, then giving it right back on 17. Taylor took his first lead on the fourth hole and would go on to take the next two holes, sealing the 4-and-3 finish.

Stanford, UCLA advance to match play in NCAA men’s golf championships

Stan_UCLAA long yet productive day took place at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan., on Monday. With the previous cancellation of the fourth round, teams played for over 12 hours on Memorial Day to determine the top eight spots.

Of the 30 teams competing, only the lowest eight team scores—including Stanford and UCLA—advanced to Tuesday’s quarterfinals in a match-style playoff, with the top two teams teeing off Wednesday in the title match. Five Pac-12 teams finished in the top 15 on Monday, with seven Pac-12 golfers finishing under par and in the top 20 on the individual leaderboard.

The Stanford Cardinal finished as the top team after the final round with a total of 13-under par, nine strokes ahead of its closest competitors, LSU and Alabama, who finished at 4-under. Despite top-ranked Patrick Rodgers’ stumble on the day at 3-over par and Cameron Wilson saving par on the day, David Boote kept the Card afloat with a stellar 5-under par performance to complement his 3-under play in the second round.

Evert Wilson - NCAA photo

Evert Wilson – NCAA photo

Wilson was tied for the individual lead at 6-under par with Georgia Tech’s Ollie Schneiderjans at the end of regulation. He would go on to win the three-hole playoff and be crowned national champion on the 17th hole after both golfers parred on the 18th and 10th holes. Boote finished tied for third place overall at 5-under.

UCLA flirted with the cut line down the back stretch, dropping as low as 10th before finishing in the sixth spot at 4-over par through the final round. The Bruins rebounded from a 4-over performance in the second round with a 1-over 281.

Lorens Chan was the model of consistency with two straight even-par rounds and topped it off with a monster 3-under final round to move from a tie at 26th place to being tied for 10th place at 3-under with five others. Anton Arboleda struggled a bit in the final round, finishing 2-over par to finish at 1-over.

California rebounded from its abysmal 9-over par performance in the second round with a respectable 2-over par in the final round, finishing at 10-over and just missing the cut in 11th place. Joel Stalter shot 3-under in the final round to finish 1-under for the tournament, jumping from a tie for 50th to being tied at 20th overall. Brandon Hagy dropped two strokes in the final round to finish 2-over.

Washington had a nice 1-under par 279 in the opening round, but then the Huskies shot 7-over in both the second and third rounds to finish at 13-over with a 15th-place finish. Corey Pereira completed the final round with a respectable 1-under 69 to finish 1-under for the tournament in the logjam 19th place with nine other golfers.  and finish in a tie for 46th place.

John Vu - GoDucks.com photo

John Vu – GoDucks.com photo

Oregon’s 9-under performance on Monday was the second-lowest round of the tournament, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the second round score of 17-over—the second-highest round of the tournament. The Ducks finished in 14th place, one stroke ahead of regional rival Washington.

Zach Foushee redeemed himself, shooting 5-under par on Monday after his paltry 6-over performance in the second round. Foushee would finish tied for 19th place at 1-under par for the tournament. Brandon McIver finished 3-under par on Monday to bring him to 3-over par for the tournament.

Washington had a nice 1-under par 279 in the opening round, but then the Huskies shot 7-over in both the second and third rounds to finish at 13-over with a 15th-place finish. Corey Pereira completed the final round with a respectable 1-under 69 to finish 1-under for the tournament in the logjam 19th place with nine other golfers.

Southern California didn’t have its best outing over the long Memorial Day weekend. The Trojans just couldn’t find their groove at Prairie Dunes but showed signs of improvement in the final round, finishing 15-over. Rico Hoey, the Trojans’ lone bright spot, finished the tournament with a 2-under 68 in the first round and a 1-under 69 in the final round. Hoey’s 7-over in the second round dropped him to 4-over for the tournament in a tie for 55th place.

 

Stanford leads NCAA men’s golf championships after 36 holes

Stanford golf

Rain delays, threats of lightning and overall poor weather at Prairie Dunes Country Club have changed the format of the NCAA men’s golf championship in Huntington, Kan. The course, which has been suffering from one of the worst droughts in recent memory as well as one of the driest starts on record, has been anything but dry.

Due to the extreme weather conditions, the fourth round, originally scheduled for Monday, has been canceled and hopes that a full round can completed on Monday are still up in the air because the forecast calls for a 40 percent chance of scattered storms.

The No. 3 Stanford Cardinal led at the conclusion of Saturday’s suspended play. After all teams finally completed two full rounds earlier on Sunday afternoon, the Cardinal still remained on top of the leaderboard without ever stepping on the course.

The nation’s top two ranked amateurs in Patrick Rodgers and Cameron Wilson, both from Stanford, also sit atop the individual leaderboard, only juxtaposed ever so slightly with Wilson in first place at 6-under and Rodgers right behind at 5-under par.

 

california-b-logo-1The Cal Golden Bears, who were ranked No. 5 prior to the championships, excelled in the first round with a 1-under 279 but struggled in the second round finishing 9-over par. The Bears were able to start the third round prior to a final suspension due to lightning and shoot a 1-under on the day. Cal is now tied for 14th par with the Universities of Texas and Alabama-Birmingham at 7-over. Brandon Hagy is tied for 21st place at 1-under par while teammates Joel Stalter and Michael Weaver are tied for 41st at 1-over par.

 

No. 8 Washington mirrored the play of California, scoring 1-under par in the first round and struggling in the second round. The Huskies performed two strokes better than the Bears finishing 7-over in the round and 6-over par overall, good enough to be tied for 11th place. Cory Pereira led all Huskies golfers with an even par after shooting 69 in the first round and 71 in the second.

 

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No. 21 UCLA also shot a 1-under par 279 in the first round but fared much better in the second round despite all the delays and distractions. The Bruins finished the second round with a respectable 4-over par to give the squad a composite score of 3-over par and sole possession of eighth place. Anton Arboleda, who had a masterful 2-under 68 in the first round, finished 1-over in the second dropping him from 18th place in the individual ranking to 21stLorens Chan and Preston Valder are both a stroke behind Arboleda at even par. 

 

The 22nd-ranked Trojans had a bad first round and an even worse second round. Finishing 16-over par in the first round was tough but being unable to rebound with an 18-over second round most likely signaled the end of the tournament for USC. Their third round score of 3-over par was not the worst showing of the round and their total score of 37-over is also not the highest of all schools, that honor belongs to Texas A&M at 38-over par. Rico Hoey, the lone bright spot for the Trojans with a 2-under 68 in the first round, finished the second round at 7-over par. Hoey’s teammates are all in double digits over par.

 

oregon-g-logoOne would think that the 27th ranked Oregon Ducks would excel in the inclement and rainy conditions but it has proved to be the opposite. They represent the biggest drop from the end of day one, which had Oregon on top, to the end of day three, where we find the Ducks at 17-over par and in 23rd place out of 30 schools. The 17-over second round hit the squad hard and they have rebounded in the third round with an impressive 4-under par to keep the Ducks at 17-over for the tournament.

Stanford on top at NCAA men’s golf championships after shortened second round

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The No. 2 ranked Stanford Cardinal was only one of six teams to complete the second round of play due to inclement weather interrupting play for over eight hours on Thursday at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan.

Only the top eight teams will make the cut after 54 holes of play to qualify for a match-play style playoff. The final two teams will play on Wednesday for the title match.

stanford-logoThe Cardinal finished the first round 1-over par and came roaring back in the second round to shoot a 13-under 267 finishing their first two rounds at a combined 12-under. Stanford is in the lead by four strokes over top-ranked and defending national champion Alabama who has yet to begin its second round. The top two ranked individuals in Partick Rodgers (-5) and Cameron Wilson (-6) lived up to their hype by finishing in the top three at the end of the second day.

No. 5 ranked California was able to complete two full rounds but with much less success than their rival across the bay. At 8-over par, the Golden Bears are tied for 21st place with the Universities of Kentucky and Houston. Cal finished the first round with an admirable 1-under 279, yet fell apart in the second round finishing 9-over for the round. No. 6 individual Brandon Hagy dropped from being tied for 14th at 2-under par to being tied for 39th at even par.

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The No. 8 ranked Washington Huskies finished the first round 1-under par and have struggled on the first three holes of the second round, finishing 6-over on holes 15-18. At 5-over par, the Huskies are currently tied for 16th place with four other schools. Cory Pereira finished round one at 1-under par but currently sits at 1-over while teammate Jonathan Sanders has improved on his first round 73, shooting 1-under so far in the second round placing him tied for 69th at 2-over par.

The UCLA Bruins, who were ranked at No. 21 entering the championships have yet to hit the course for the second round and are clinging to a tie for 10th place at 1-under par after the first round. Anton Arboleda is 2-under par and tied for 15th place in the individual standings. No. 25 Johnathan Garrick and No. 50 Lorens Chan are both tied for 39th after shooting an even par 70 in the first round.

oregon-g-logoThe No. 22 USC Trojans had a horrific first round, shooting 16-over par and look to rebound in the second round on Sunday morning. 15th ranked Rico Hoey finished the first round with a respectable 2-under 68 and is currently tied with several others for 15th place. Three SC players are 6-over par, including 30th ranked Anthony Paolucci.

The No. 27 ranked Oregon Ducks surprised the field after taking the lead at the end of the first day. The Ducks would return to Earth and finish with a 4-over 284 after completing the second round, good enough to be tied for 14th with the University of Illinois. Friday’s individual leader, Zach Foushee is holding on to a 15th place tie at 2-under par. Teammate Thomas Lim is also sporting a respectable 1-under par 69 at the completion of the first round.