Washington, Noah Woolsey win Pac-12 Men's Golf championships

University of Washington senior Noah Woolsey carded a final round 1-over par 72 to hold off Stanford junior Barclay Brown to win the Pac-12 Men's Golf championship at Aldarra Golf Club on Wednesday.

Washington (2-over) also took home the team championship with a three-shot victory over Stanford (5-over).

Woolsey (8-under, 276) is the first individual champion from Washington since Darren Wallace in 2009. He's the fourth champion from UW along with Wallace, Erik Olson (2005) and O.D. Vincent (1988). 

"It was really ugly," Woolsey said. "I didn't really play a good hole until No. 10, probably. I was just scrambling. I got a good break on No. 5 by getting a drop (after going into the penalty area). A couple good par saves, a big one on eight. And once I birdied nine, that's when I kind of knew I could get it going and focus up and stop hitting some loose shots."

It's the first time Washington has won the team title since consecutive titles in 2009 and 2010. It's the seventh conference title for the school: 2022, 2010, 2009, 2005, 1988, 1963, 1961.

"Unbelievable," head coach Alan Murray said. "I kind of said to the guys ‘tomorrow is going to be a hard day, a lot of wild stuff can happen.’ And it really did.

"It's hard to not admire those guys' heart, their resiliency, how tough they are. I'm so happy for them."

Woolsey won the 110th California Amateur last year at The Preserve Golf Club. He also earned status on PGA Tour Canada by finishing third in the qualifying tournament held at The Home Course in Dupont, Wash. last week.

Woolsey began the day a shot back out of Brown for the lead through three rounds and overcame some shaky play early. A bogey on the par 4 1st hole and another at the par 4 5th hole dropped Woolsey two back of Brown's lead.

"It was really ugly," Woolsey said. "I didn't really play a good hole until No. 10, probably. I was just scrambling."

Brown faltered shortly afterward as a pulled tee shot at the par 3 6th put him in trouble. Brown had to hack out of deep rough and ultimately saw his bogey putt slide by the hole for a double bogey to drop him back level with Woolsey at 7-under.

A lost tee shot on the par 4 8th was another blow to Brown, though he managed to save bogey with testy six-footer to only drop a single shot.

Both Woolsey and Brown would birdie the shot par 3 9th as Woolsey carried a one-shot advantage into the back nine.

"I got a good break on (No.) 5 by getting a drop (after going into the penalty area). A couple good par saves, a big one on (No.) 8. And once I birdied (No.) 9, that's when I kind of knew I could get it going and focus up and stop hitting some loose shots."

Oregon's Yuki Moriyama, who began the day five shots back of Brown and four of Woolsey, birdied the par 5 11th to move to 6-under par. Moriyama had a clean card the rest of the way in to post at 6-under par. He would finish third ahead of Arizona State's Jose Luis Ballester and Colorado's Justin Biwer.

While Woolsey settled in, Brown continued to slide. A tee shot along the hazard line on the 10th led to a bogey, then a pulled 3-wood from the fairway on the par 5 11th ended up in the penalty area left of the green. A hack out of the long grass came up well short of the green and a three-putt led to a double bogey. Meanwhile, Woolsey rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt as the lead quickly grew to three over Moriyama and five over Brown.

Brown shook off the bogeys and came roaring back. After both players birdied the short par 5 12th, Brown stuck his tee shot to a foot-and-a-half on the long par 3 13th, and nearly matched it with an iron shot to two feet on the par 4 14th. He then rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt on the difficult par 3 15th for his fourth straight birdie to move back to 8-under, two back of Woolsey.

"That really made it interesting. I couldn't believe it," Woolsey said of Brown's birdie run. "You birdie (No.) 12, I get it. If you hit a really good shot on (No.) 13, you have a chance at birdie and he did. Stuffs it on (No.) 14 and then laces one at the flag on (No.) 15 and I'm like ‘OK, this guy needs to actually stop or else something's going to happen.' That was incredible."

A bogey at 16 for Brown after a poor tee shot gave Woolsey a two-shot cushion with three to play. However, Woolsey's tee shot on the short par 4 17th found trouble in the right rough behind a tree. Woolsey punched out and over the shallow green. However, a pitch shot jumped on him and went back over the green. The next one came up well short and his bogey try lipped out as the lead was cut to one headed to the last.

After finding the left rough off the tee, Woolsey delivered the critical shot with a iron that just cleared the right bunkers and rolled up to 10 feet. 

"That was by far the best shot I've hit under pressure," Woolsey said.

A nice up-and-down out of the green side trap from Brown finished off his 3-over par 74 to finish 7-under.

Woolsey easily two-putted with his teammates running onto the 18th green and dousing him with water and Gatorade in celebration.

"I'm lost for words," Murray said holding back tears.

Woolsey joins reigning U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm (2016) and reigning British Open champion Collin Morikawa (2019) as recent winners of the Pac-12 individual title. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Paul Casey and Max Homa are also previous winners of the even that have won on the PGA Tour.

Full results: https://results.golfstat.com/public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=player&tid=24550

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