Event: NCAA West Region Championships
Where: Lake Merced Golf Club – Daly City, Calif.
When: Today through Saturday; all day
Who to watch: Austin Graham has had about a good a year as anyone could have.
Graham has won three tournaments – including the Big West Conference Championships – and was named first-team All-Big West. The sophomore leads the team with a 72.0 scoring average.
Most recently, Graham qualified for the U.S. Open Sections by shooting a 5-under 67 at Yolo Fliers Club in Woodland.
“He’s playing amazing golf right now and deserves to advance,” coach Cy Williams said.
The San Clemente, Calif. native’s next goal, though, will be to lead UC Davis past the regional round of the NCAA Championships.
Did you know? The men’s golf team became UC Davis‘ first team to win a Big West title with its tournament win in San Luis Obispo, Calif. (Apr. 20 to 21).
Preview: The 26th-ranked Aggies are coming off a convincing performance at the Big West Championship, as they knocked off defending champ UC Irvine by an impressive seven shots.
“It’s about time,” Williams said. “We let an opportunity go last year, so it was nice to redeem ourselves this year.“
The win places UC Davis in the thick of the West Region Championships, where it’ll face the likes of No. 2 USC, No. 12 Texas A&M, No. 14 Arizona State and No. 22 San Diego State. These teams represent the top four seeds in the 13-team region; UC Davis enters as the fifth seed.
The Aggies won’t have to travel far for the regional, as the tournament is located in Daly City.
“We’re happy we’re going to Lake Merced,” Williams said. “A few of our players have had good previous tournament experience on that course, but the main thing we realize is it’s not going to matter. We just have to be better prepared and ready to play good golf – and we will be.“
Williams‘ resume shows that he will have the Aggies ready to play at a high level. The Big West Coach of the Year has led UC Davis to top-10 performances in 11 of its 12 tournaments. It’s won three tournaments as a team.
The Aggies are hoping for a strong performance in order to advance to the national finals. The top 30 teams in the country open nationals by playing 54 holes. The top eight teams will then advance to a second three-round tournament to decide the national title winner.
– Kyle Hyland