If you see one of the golfers on the UC Davis team around campus and they seem relaxed or at ease at all, it’s because they have a good reason to be.
Though the Aggies have been unable to win either of their two fall tournaments, they have been hanging around at the top of leaderboard in each one.
“Honestly, I don’t really look at the finishes,” coach Cy Williams said. “I just look more at the performances and each one of our guys has shown that they can play at a high level.“
UC Davis got the fall season under way in Pullman, Wash. with the Washington State Invitational.
Sophomore transfer Tim Honeycutt made his presence known with a first round 3-under (69). Junior Austin Graham paired a first round 73 with another one on the second 18 holes for a first day score of 2-over (146) and a tie for 11th.
Entering the second day of golf, UC Davis sat in fifth place. Graham’s 7-under par (65) tied the Palouse Ridge Golf Club course record and helped propel his team up the leaderboard to a third place finish.
On Saturday, UC Davis teed it up in Kingsley, Mich. at the Spartan Classic. The Aggies ripped off a team two-round score of 11-under (557) on the Kingsley Club to take a share of the lead with California.
In the mix on the final day of play, the Aggies played solidly, led again by Graham, who shot an even par (71). Freshman Andrew Haggen shot a 72 and Honeycutt added a 73.
Unfortunately for UC Davis, California, with whom the Aggies were tied with after Saturday, scored an impressive 5-under (279) as a team during the final round to run away with the tournament.
“We were tied going into the last round, but Cal played a solid last round and we didn’t have our A-game,” Graham said. “We fell just a few shots short.“
The Aggies took second and both Graham and sophomore Tyler Raber finished in the top 10 individually.
Though Williams is not satisfied with his team‘s two finishes so far, he also understands how important it is to be close in golf.
“What a first day we had at the Michigan State Tournament,” Williams said. “We couldn’t quite finish it up, which is okay because you can’t win every tournament, but we had a chance to win and I think that’s the main thing.“
The Aggies‘ next chance to grab a tournament win will be next weekend at the Windon Memorial Classic, held by Northwestern University in Glencoe, Ill.
“Every tournament, we want to come in and win, no doubt about that,” Graham said. “We have every aspect of the game covered, it’s just a matter of putting it all together as a team in the same round and the same tournament“
UC Davis was able to do that last season winning three tournaments including the Big West Conference Tournament, and earning a birth in the NCAA Tournament Division I West Regional.
With all of last season’s success, Williams hopes to both build on it while at the same time moving on.
“We’re not trying to do the same things we did last year, we’re definitely going to try to out-do them,” Williams said. “Our players are just as good, so we’re excited about this season.“
JOHN S. HELLER can be reached at email@example.com.