CHAMPIONS: Sugimoto And The Golfing Tigers Take The 2013 CrownFor the first time since the 1997 season and second time in program history the Pacific golf team took home the Big West Championship title
Pacific Tigers Golf Team - 2013 Big West Champions
The Tigers were named co-champions alongside of Cal State Fullerton as the two teams finished tied at +23 after 54-holes of action at the 2013 Big West Championships on Tuesday, April 30. With the tie the two teams battled in a one-hole playoff to decide the automatic berth into the NCAA tournament where Pacific defeated the Titans to earn a spot in the postseason for the second time in three seasons.
In addition to the team title coming down to a playoff, the individual title came down to extra holes as well as sophomore Eric Sugimoto outlasted a pair of challengers to win top honors for the Tigers for the second-straight season. Sugimoto became the fourth Tiger to win the individual title as he joined senior Alex Edfort (2012) as well as Jason Preeo (1998) and Florian Bruhns (1997) as individual Big West champions.
"I give all the credit to the guys out there," said head coach Brandon Goethals. "They hung in there at the end to force the playoff and then they went out there and played the playoff like champions. I am extremely proud of the way they played today."
Trailing Cal State Fullerton for much of the day due to a rough start to their final round, the Tigers needed a little bit of skill and a little bit of luck down the stretch to pull off the late round comeback against the Titans. Down two strokes with just two holes to play for their final three golfers, the Tigers battled their way back into contention.
Shaking off a rocky final round, senior Alex Edfort came up big when the Tigers needed it most as the reigning Big West Player of the Year came up with a pair of birdies on 17 and 18 to push Pacific back into a tie for first. After giving one back in the second to last group, Pacific held on with a pair of pars by Sugimoto to put the pressure on the Titans.
With the tournament title on the line both individually and for his team, Cal State Fullerton's Corey Gard, missed his par putt on 18 and was forced to card a bogey on the final hole of regulation. Gard's miss along with the Tigers' push at the end forced the two teams into the playoff to decide the conference's automatic berth into the NCAA tournament. In addition to the Titans slipping back into a tie with the Tigers, Gard fell back into a three-way tie with Sugimoto and UC Santa Barbara's Brett Silvernail at the top of the individual standings.
Before deciding an individual champion, the Tigers and the Titans squared off in playoff golf as the two teams headed back to the 18th tee to decide a victor. The teams teed off in reverse order of the final day's finish from which the Tigers took immediate control. With Pacific playing well on its second trip down the 18th fairway, the Tigers ran away with the final three pairings led by their veterans. After Edfort birdied 18 to take a one-stroke advantage over his challenger, the Tigers got their biggest shot of the afternoon out of sophomore Byron Meth as the second-year player holed a 50-foot eagle putt to give Pacific an unsurmountable advantage. Meth's eagle essentially sealed the win for the Tigers as Sugimoto drained a birdie in his group ending any hopes of a Titan rally.
With the team playoff finished, Pacific turned its attention to Sugimoto and the individual crown at stake. Playing the 18th for the third time of the day, Sugimoto matched Gard every stroke of the way as the two each posted birdies on the first playoff hole of the afternoon, knocking out Silvernail, who tallied a par, and forcing a second hole of action. With one adversary down, Sugimoto took care of his final hurdle towards the individual honor on the second playoff hole as the sophomore parred the 10th hole while Gard bogeyed.
"Playing against Corey, who is a very good player, was tough as we fought the whole day," said Sugimoto. "Somehow, I came out on top in the end."