Though the sun was out all day at the Eugene Country Club, the conditions were not entirely favorable for players at the men's golf Pac-12 Championships. The north wind blew 10-15 mile-per-hour gusts consistently across the course, hooking drives into the rough and carrying long puts across the green.
A day after tying for fifth and making noise on the back nine holes, the Ducks again finished tied for fifth with Utah. They combined to shoot 377 in the fourth round, good for a total score of 1,451 to put them +31 over par. Ryan Gronlund was the lowest-scoring Duck, finishing 10th with an even par 71 and 284 for the tournament.
“I told myself, ‘it doesn’t matter if your putting from 40 feet, just give yourself as many looks,’” Gronlund said. “If you make one, great. If not, just keep plugging along. Pars are gonna lap the field today.”
Though pars led to decent finishes on the final day, Cal’s Collin Morikawa, the No. 4 amateur in the world, birdied the last three holes of the round to finish one under par and win the tournament title. Morikawa shot the lowest round of the championship the day before, eagling his first hole en route to a 64 score on the day.
Stanford won the team title with a score of 1,413, and the Cardinal shot 359 in the final round, eight strokes lower than second place UCLA.
Even for Oregon’s head coach Casey Martin, who grew up playing the course, this was the toughest he’s seen it.
“My guys feel like they’ve been through a war.They don’t feel very good about themselves," Martin said. “But it’s understandable; it was so difficult.”
Gronlund hit his first birdies consecutively on the 13th and 14th holes. He nearly came away with another on the 17th, but was inches short on a long put.
Yin Ho Yue tied for 16th with a 73 in round four, and freshman Craig Ronne tied for 21st. He finished 78 on the day, much worse than the previous rounds, highlighted by a 69 in round two.
Ronne was paired with USC’s Justin Suh, the No. 2 amateur in the world. For first few holes, Ronne said he was a little intimidated playing against one of the best golfers he’s faced. But as the round went on, he saw that both of them had to deal with the same problems on the course. Suh, the reigning Pac-12 player of the year, finished fourth, and with a bogey in the 16th and 18th holes, ended four over par.
“He struggled out here too, so that goes to show how difficult it was,” Ronne said.
Gronlund and Ronne both said Martin’s familiarity with the course helped them though the four rounds. Martin believes Ronne’s experience playing with a player of Suh’s quality will benefit him in the long run.
“He’s got a great presence about himself out there,” Martin said of Suh. “Even when he wasn’t hitting at his best, he carries himself like he knows what he’s doing, and I think my guys can learn from that."
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