Feb. 17, 2014
LA QUINTA, Calif. - Ben Corfee was 3 under on the back nine of the Greg Norman Course during the first round of The Prestige at PGA WEST on Monday, on his way to a 3-under and 68 and a tie for third place while leading the UC Davis men's golf team.
The 14th annual tournament, co-hosted by UC Davis and Stanford, features eight teams ranked among Golfstat's top 50 including the No. 11 Cardinal, No. 17 Washington and No. 23 UCLA.
UC Davis is in ninth-place after shooting 7-over 291. Besides Corfee's 68, the Aggies also picked up a 72 from senior Matt Hansen and a 75 from Luke Vivolo. Jonny Baxter fired a 76 while Mike Brockington opened with a 78. Nicolas Noya playing as an individual along with Aggie teammate Joshua Granger, carded a 74. Granger finished with a 76.
Stanford, paced by co-leaders Maverick McNealy and Patrick Rodgers, took a commanding 11-shot lead after finishing with an 15-under 269. San Diego State (-4) is in second while UCLA (-2), Oregon (+1), Washington (+2) and No. 33 LSU (+2) round out the top six teams.
Corfee went bogey-birdie on the first two holes before stringing seven straight pars to make his turn even. He then caught fire on the back, picking up birdies on the 10th, 12th, 14th and 16th holes to help him shoot a 3-under 33. His 68 matched the season-best pair of 68s he had during the final two rounds of the SCVB Pacific Invitational at the end of the fall season.
Corfee is three shots off the pace being set by McNealy and Rodgers, who each shot 65. Rodgers, ranked second in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, shot a blistering 6-under 30 on the back nine.
Hansen opened his day with nine consecutive pars - he had 16 overall - before a double-bogey on 10 put him 2 over. But he recovered to get a stroke back with a birdie on the 14th hole. Hansen closed with four pars and is tied for 25th.
Vivolo posted two birdies on the front nine and played the first half of the course even before carding a closing birdie on the par-4 18th. He's tied for 47th. Baxter started his day with eight straight pars before a birdie on the par-4 ninth hole put him in the red. He was 6 over on the back and is tied for 52nd.
Brockington had two pars during his round, both on par-4 holes, and is tied for 61st. Noya shot a 74 and is tied for 37th, highlighting his day with two birdies on the back nine. Granger had three birdies and is tied for 52nd.
"We were really close," said Aggie coach Cy Williams. "We just had two bad back-nines which is the easier nine on the course. Ben Corfee had a heckuva round. He was playing with the No. 2 amateur in the world (Rodgers) and they went shot for shot. Ben's ball-striking was fantastic. He hit it well."
Players were greeted by sunny weather, little wind and temperatures in the low 80's. They'll return to action with the second round on Tuesday, beginning at 8:45 a.m. UC Davis will play with Stanford and the University of Stirling for the second straight day.
THE PRESTIGE AT PGA WEST
La Quinta, Calif. (Co-hosted by UC Davis and Stanford)
Greg Norman Course
Par 71, 7,070 yards
18 of 54 holes
1. Stanford, 269
2. San Diego State, 280
3. UCLA, 282
4. Oregon, 285
T5. Washington, 286
T5. LSU, 286
7. USC, 288
8. Arizona State, 290
9. UC DAVIS, 291
T10. Texas Tech, 292
T10. Univ. of Stirling, 292
12. Pepperdine, 306
T1. Maverick McNealy, 65
T1. Patrick Rodgers, 65