OC rallies in rain to one-shot victory in Fujikura Invitational

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VISTA, Calif. (Feb. 5, 2019) – Down six shots at the start Tuesday, and with only half a round or so to close the gap, No. 9-ranked Oklahoma Christian began grinding, and a few hours later, they were holding their trophies for winning the Fujikura Invitational at soggy Shadowridge Golf Club in suburban San Diego.

OC finished off an even-par team round of 288 for a 36-hole score of 583, one shot better than No. 8 Chico State (Calif.), which had started the day two shots ahead of the Eagles. First-day leader California-San Diego was third at 592, while tournament host California State-San Marcos was fourth at 596.

The title was the third of the 2018-19 campaign for OC, which in the fall won the Missouri Southern Fall Invitational at Shangri-La Golf Club in Monkey Island, Okla., and The Territory Classic at The Territory Golf Club in Duncan, the latter to close the fall season. The Fujikura Invitation was OC’s spring opener.

Heavy rain in the San Diego area resulted in the tournament being shortened to two rounds. The 15 teams finished the entire first round and a third-to-half of the second round Monday before play was suspended and they returned Tuesday to finish the second round. At that point, UCSD was at 3-over, Chico State at 7-over and OC at 9-over.

The Eagles sizzled, with three players – sophomore Andres Brictson (70), senior Garrett White (71) and senior Cameron Brown (71) – finishing off under-par rounds on the par-72, 7,004-yard course. White closed with a birdie on the par-4 No. 2 that proved to be the difference. As a team, the Eagles had nine birdies over the eight to 10 holes they played Tuesday.

Chico State also shot a 288 in the final round, while UCSD finished with a 292.

White’s overall score of 1-under 143 placed him fifth in the 80-man field, three shots behind the co-champs, Kelley Sullivan of Chico State and Devin Gregg of Sonoma State (Calif.). Sullivan won a playoff on the fourth hole.

Brictson’s 70 allowed him to jump into a tie for ninth at 145. Brown also shot up the individual standings, into a tie for 11th at 147.

Junior Trevor Norby, playing just a few miles from his hometown of Carlsbad, Calif., finished 22nd at 150 after a second-round 77. Senior Juan Pallach was one spot back, tied for 23rd, at 151 after a 76.

Playing as an individual, OC senior Ethan Smith tied for 71st at 160, closing with an 83.

The tournament win was the 62nd in OC men’s golf history. The last time the Eagles won as many as three events during an academic year was 2012-13, when they won four times, including the National Christian College Athletic Association title at The Hombre Golf Club in Panama City Beach, Fla., during the fall.

The Eagles’ next tournament will be Feb. 25-26, when they will play in the St. Mary’s Invitational at The Dominion Country Club in San Antonio.


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Ken MacLeod

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