Freshman Matt Hansen’s career is off to a dream start.
After bursting onto the scene earlier this season, Hansen has proven to be a valuable member for the Aggies, and is now heading to the NCAA Championship Tournament after winning the NCAA Southwest Regional this weekend.
Hansen was hot right out of the gate at the event, which was hosted by Omni Tucson National Golf Course in Tucson, Ariz.
The Los Osos, Calif. native shot seven under-par in his opening round, tallying eight birdies and jumping out to a two-stroke tournament lead.
Friday proved to be the most difficult day of the tournament for Hansen, as he went one-over, and fell behind Oregon State’s Alex Moore for the tournament lead.
Hansen bounced back on Saturday, however, and a three-under final-round gave him his first tournament victory as an Aggie.
Head coach Cy Williams said the key to the weekend was Hansen’s ability to limit the damage during his second round.
“[Hansen] played really well,” he said. “He kept his one ‘bad’ round close to par and then shot a good round on [Saturday].”
Hansen’s performance also led UC Davis to an eighth-place finish.
The Aggies shot one-over for the weekend, 20 strokes behind first-place San Diego State, and nine strokes behind Arizona and Pepperdine for the fifth and final spot in the NCAA Tournament. The Aggies were at their best in the final round, shooting five-under.
Williams was pleased with the way his team performed.
“I was very proud of our guys today,” he said. “We came out hot early and had a very good round.”
Senior Austin Graham finished two-over, after capping his UC Davis career with a three-under final round. Sophomore Andrew Haggan finished four-over, while junior Tyler Raber tallied five-over and freshman Daniel Covrig went 14-over.
With the tournament victory, Hansen will now advance to the NCAA Championship in Stillwater, Okla.
After a solid performance over the weekend, Hansen feels good about his chances.
“I’m in a good place [mentally] to head to nationals,” he said. “It’s great to be playing well.”
TREVOR CRAMER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.