Only one Aggie remained.
The rest of the team was done for the summer, but All Big West Conference First Team selection Austin Graham was teeing up at Olympic Course in Bremerton, Wash. to take part in the NCAA West Regional Championships as an individual.
The junior from San Clemente, Calif. had missed the Big West Conference Championships for medical reasons and thus had not participated in a tournament since April 13. He was glad to be back and felt like he was back to full strength.
“It was hard to sit back and watch as my teammates play at the Big West,” said Graham. “I was happy to finally be back on the course.”
He had a tough task ahead of him, though.
Graham needed to be the top individual performer on a non-advancing team in order to move on to the NCAA National Championships in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Unfortunately for him and for UC Davis, there will not be an Aggie at Nationals.
Graham finished tied with No. 1 Diego Velasquez of Oregon State for 40th with a score of 7-over. He was 15 strokes behind winner Richard Lee of Washington and 12 strokes behind No. 25 Espen Kofstad – the only individual qualifying for Nationals – of the University of Denver.
Still, coach Cy Williams knows that Graham was only a few holes away from having a great tournament.
“Overall he played very well,” Williams said. “He put up two big numbers on two easy holes. It was more about the strategy than his physical play. He was basically two holes away from being under par.”
Graham knew it too.
“There were a few shots I didn’t hit as well as I planned,” Graham said. “I was really close to having a very different score.”
Now he’s is looking to the future.
“I can’t wait to play with the team again in September,” Graham said. “Next year is going to be great for us.”
TREVOR CRAMER can be reached at email@example.com.