Hollister, Calif. — San Francisco started with a flourish and held on for a six-shot win against defending champion Pepperdine to capture the 2011 West Coast Conference Championship Tuesday at the San Juan Oaks Golf Club. The Dons led wire-to-wire in capturing its second league title in three seasons.
It is the Dons’ 10th overall title since the event began in 1971. San Francisco won its first championship in 1971, seven more in a 10-year span from 1981-1990 and then regained the crown in 2009. The Dons wrapped up the title on the strength of three golfers finishing in the top six: Sophomore Taylor Travis (T-1st, -4), freshman James Back (3rd, -3) and junior Ji Hwan Park (6th, -1).
“It’s nice when a plan all comes together,” USF head coach Rich Yokota said. “There were times when we really had to keep the faith, whether it was illness, or knee surgery or four freshman navigating their first year in college. It was a challenge, but it looks like it’s finally gelling. It’s nice to have the icing on the end of the regular season and now we have to keep our focus as we move on to NCAA Regionals.”
Travis captured medalist honors in dramatic fashion, securing his second individual title of the season with a birdie on the second playoff hole against San Diego’s Alex Ching. Travis, who shared medalist honors at the 2010 Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic in his second collegiate event, becomes the first Don to claim WCC medalist honors since Rob Frye accomplished the feat in 2004 and the 11th overall.
“He’s a really quiet kind of fighter,” Yokota said. “He’s got tremendous belief in himself and is mature far beyond his years in terms of confidence and experience at the national level.”
San Francisco led by two shots after the first round and 10 after two rounds before holding on to a six-shot win over 2010 champion Pepperdine. The Dons finished at four-under par (860), while the Waves (+2, 866), San Diego (+7, 871), Saint Mary’s (+12, 878) and Santa Clara (+24, 888) rounded out the top five. Portland and Gonzaga tied for sixth (+36, 900) with LMU two shots back (+38, 902).