Win, win for UW men's golf: Noah Woolsey takes Pac-12 title and team wins, too

Win, win for UW men’s golf: Noah Woolsey takes Pac-12 title and team wins, too

SAMMAMISH — Aldarra Golf Club was already Noah Woolsey’s favorite course.

Now, the fifth-year Washington senior has another reason to love it, winning the Pac-12 men’s golf individual title Wednesday at Aldarra and leading the Husky men to a historic victory in the event.

Woolsey won by a shot over Stanford’s Barclay Brown with a four-round total of 8-under 276 — a victory that wasn’t secure until he hit one of the best shots of his life on the 18th hole.

The No. 8 Huskies finished at 2 over as a team to beat No. 17 Stanford by three shots and No. 4 Arizona State by eight to win a team-record sixth title this season, breaking the mark it shared with the 2008-09 team.

That it happened in front of a home crowd made it even more special.

“It’s hard not to admire those guys’ heart, their resiliency and how tough they are,” UW coach Alan Murray said. “I am so happy for them. Noah was phenomenal all week. … He deserved it. (It was) storybook. Storybook.”

Woolsey had a three-shot lead over Brown with two holes to play, but he made a double bogey on the 17th, cutting his lead to a shot. He then hit his drive on the 18th into the rough and was in dire need of a big shot.

That’s what he delivered, hitting his approach to nine feet. He two-putted from there to secure the fourth win of his career.

“I wasn’t even going near the flag and I pushed it just enough so it was perfect,” Woolsey said, whose parents flew from the Bay Area to watch him play this week. “It was by far the best shot I have hit under pressure.”

Washington led by seven shots over No. 4 Arizona State entering the final round, but that lead disappeared early Wednesday when the Huskies got off to a slow start.

Arizona State momentarily tied for the lead while Stanford pulled to two shots behind, but the Huskies started making birdies to pull back ahead. Although they never got a comfortable lead, they did enough to win the program’s first Pac-12 title since it won back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010.

Woolsey began the day trailing Stanford’s Barclay Brown by a shot. Woolsey struggled early and was 2 over through eight holes, and made a few good part saves or it might have been worse.

“I really didn’t play a good hole until No. 10,” he said.

Woolsey made his first birdie of the day on the ninth hole, then made back-to-back birdies on the 11th and 12th holes—consecutive by 5s—to take a four-shot lead.

Brown made a double bogey on the 12th hole to fall to 6 over for the day and six behind Woolsey. Brown then made four straight birdies to make it interesting. It got much more interesting when Woosley made a double bogey on the 17th.

It was Woolsey’s first win at UW since winning three events in the fall of 2019. He moved into a tie for third in team history in career wins, joining Brock Mackenzie, Nick Taylor and Corey Pereira.

As good as Woolsey was, everyone contributed.

Petr Hruby bounced back from being 3 over through seven holes to shoot 1 over for the round. Taehoon Song and Woolsey were 1 over for the day and star RJ Manke and Teddy Lin were 2 over. Bo Peng, who entered the day tied for fifth overall, had his first off round of the week, but it didn’t matter.

Manke has been one of the best players in the country all season, but had an off week, tying for 28th.

The Huskies showed their depth, just like they did on the only other down week for Manke this season, when they won the Goodwin tournament at Stanford.

No one seemed more happy afterward than Manke, with perhaps the possible exception of Woolsey, who received a bear hug from Manke after his win.

“Even though RJ might not have had the scores he wanted this week, his fingerprints are all over this win,” said Murray, whose team will play in an NCAA regional starting May 15.

For Woolsey, it continued a great seven days. On Friday, he qualified to play on the PGA Tour Canada. But the Pac-12 title meant more to him.

“This is by far bigger,” Woolsey said. “Hopefully, I’ll have a long career in professional golf — who knows — but you only have five years in college, for me, and we have such a special team and such an incredible community. The fact that we pulled through with everyone watching on our home course is an incredible moment.”

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