April 21, 2009
Big West Championship results
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Sophomore Austin Graham beat teammate Ramie Sprinkling for medalist honors on the first playoff hole Tuesday, and the No. 28 UC Davis men's golf team had three players in the top 10, as the Aggies posted a seven-shot victory at San Luis Obispo Country Club to win their first-ever Big West Conference Championship.
The Aggies clinched their first-ever berth to the upcoming NCAA Division I Championships which begin with regional competition on May 14-16 at six sites.
The league also announced its postseason awards at the end of the tournament and UC Davis was well-represented. Graham, Sprinkling and senior Nate Pistacchio were each named to the All-Big West Conference first team while Cy Williams was named the Big West Conference Coach of the Year. Brent Booth was selected honorable mention.
Pistacchio was a repeat honoree on the first team while Graham and Sprinkling are on it for the first time after receiving second-team awards last season. The trio has combined for six wins this season.
Williams said the recognition is a sign of the team's depth which was key to the conference championship, "because you don't have to rely on one person every round. You have a bunch of players that can go low at any time."
"They work hard and are very deserving (of the awards)," he said.
The tournament ended a busy four days of golf for the Aggies who participated in the U.S. Intercollegiate at Stanford on the weekend before traveling to the Central Coast for the conference championship.
UC Davis was in second place to UC Riverside after Monday's first round but took a two-shot lead into Tuesday after a strong second-round. The Aggies went even lower over the final 18 holes, carding a tournament-best 4-under 284 to finish at 3-under 861.
That was good enough for a seven-shot win over defending champion UC Irvine which tied Pacific for second at 4-over 868. UC Riverside was fourth at 18-over with Long Beach State, Cal State Northridge, Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara following.
Graham and Sprinkling ended 54-hole play tied at 3-under and went to sudden-death each looking for their third tournament wins of the season. They played the par-4, 404-yard 18th with Graham's birdie delivering him the top honor.
Graham earned a spot in the playoff by posting birdies on three of his first four holes of the last round and then countering a pair of bogeys with two more birdies down the stretch for a 69. Sprinkling shot 70, capitalizing on two birdies and an eagle at the par-5 5th. It was his second eagle of the championship.
Booth completed the UC Davis trio in the top 10, tying for seventh at 1-under after firing a 73. Pistacchio had three birdies during his round of 72, placing 22nd at 7-over, while Phil Huffman played his front nine even before tallying a 76 and tying for 26th at 10-over.
UC Davis will make its inaugural appearance in the national championships after posting its third win of the season and its second over the past three events. The Aggies have enjoyed an unprecedented season which has featured 11 top-10 performances in 12 events and six first-place individual finishes.
The tournament field for the NCAA Championship will be announced in early May.
BIG WEST CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP
San Luis Obispo, Calif.
San Luis Obispo Country Club
Par 72, 6,769 yards
1. UC DAVIS, 291-286-284-861
2. UC Irvine, 292-287-289-868
3. Pacific, 294-288-286-868
4. UC Riverside, 287-296-299-882
5. Long Beach State, 305-286-295-886
6. Cal State Northridge, 300-302-289-891
7. Cal Poly, 300-301-294-895
8. UC Santa Barbara, 305-295-297-897
T1. Austin Graham, UC Davis, 74-70-69-213 (wins in playoff)
T1. Ramie Sprinkling, UC Davis, 72-71-70-213
T7. Brent Booth, 72-70-73-215
22. Nate Pistacchio, 76-75-72-223
T26. Phil Huffman, 73-77-76-226
ALL-BIG WEST CONFERENCE
Ramie Sprinkling, UC Davis
Geoff Gonzalez, Cal Poly
Nick Delio, Cal State Northridge
Nate Pistaccio, UC Davis
Austin Graham, UC Davis
Sean Shahi, UC Irvine
Michael Drake, Long Beach State
Erik Harvey, Cal State Northridge
Scott Clayton, UC Riverside
Jarod Knight, Cal Poly
Brent Booth, UC Davis
T.J. Bordeaux, Pacific
Tyler Weir, UC Santa Barbara
Coach of the Year
Cy Williams, UC Davis
Co-Freshmen of the Year
Kevin Lim, Long Beach State
Roberti Franciani, UC Irvine
Player of the Year
John Chin, UC Irvine