UC Davis’ strategy entering the 2008 season was a simple one.
“Our goal, as always, is to get into the final group in the last round,” head coach Cy Williams said. “That will give us a chance to win.”
The Aggies found their way into the final group in their first tournament of the season, making the most of their chance in posting an eight-stroke victory at the Kansas Invitational last Tuesday.
UC Davis, which finished second in last year’s Big West Tournament, shot a one-over 865 as a team. TCU and host Kansas shot 873 and 882, respectively, to round out the top three.
Tied with TCU entering the tournament’s final round, the Aggies were the only team to shoot under par on the final day of competition.
“I think we played the same as we did the first two rounds,” Williams said. “But we didn’t give away as many shots [in the final round].”
Three Aggies finished in the tournament’s top five as individuals. Sophomore Austin Graham’s final round 68 gave him the individual title, while seniors Nate Pistacchio and Ramie Sprinkling finished third and tied for fourth.
Freshman Tyler Raber and junior Brett Booth rounded out the Aggie starting five, finished tied for 28th and 35th place, respectively.
“Austin just put the ball a little bit closer and made a few good putts,” Williams said. “That’s why he won.”
UC Davis kept winning at the Wolverine Intercollegiate in Ann Arbor, Mich. on Sunday as Sprinkling gave the Aggies their second individual medalist in as many chances.
A native of Camarillo, Calif., Sprinkling shot in the 60s in each round. He went 69-68-69 to post a seven-under score of 206.
Graham and Pistacchio also had continued success, finishing in 11th and 22nd place, respectively. Graham fired the low Aggie round of the tournament, carding a second-round 67.
Raber and Booth finished in a tie for 37th place.
The success of the trio led UC Davis to a second-place showing as a team. The Aggies posted an 843, two strokes behind host Michigan. UC Davis finished three shots ahead of California (846), which took third place honors ahead of Michigan State (848).
The Aggies will look to build on their early-season success at the Husky Invitational in Bremerton, Wash. The two-day tournament begins Monday.
UC Davis finished in eighth place in an accomplished 13-squad field at the Gold Mountain Golf Complex a season ago. The 54-hole tournament’s final round was canceled due to weather concerns.
ADAM LOBERSTEIN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.