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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Men’s golf finishes year strong, takes fifth at Saint Mary’s Invitational

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(Arizona Athletics) Junior George Cunningham eyes a putt at the Saint Mary’s Invitational in Pebble Beach, California. Cunningham finished third overall, and the Wildcats finished fifth as a team.





Arizona men’s golf capped off its fall season with a strong team performance on day three of the Saint Mary’s Invitational. The Wildcats finished in fifth place (+32) of the 14-team field.

The top-five finish was the Wildcat’s highest of the season and their collective score on day three of 290 strokes (+6) was their lowest of the year.

“I was proud of the way our guys finished,” head coach Jim Anderson said. “Poppy Hills is a course that requires discipline because it seems like there are lots of birdie opportunities.”

Leading the way for the Wildcats was Tucson native George Cunningham, who placed third individually. The junior finished 1-under par for the competition with a total score of 212—only two behind winner Eduardo Carrete of host Saint Mary’s.

Cunningham led the Wildcats over all three days, finishing the opening round at 1-over par. After a par performance on day two, he was able to hold off the competition in the final round to retain his spot on the leaderboards.

“I felt really good before the round,” Cunningham said. “But I started out pretty rough today. I wasn’t hitting the ball as well as I normally do and was scrambling to just be 3-over through seven holes. I got a break on the eighth and made a birdie, which really got my momentum going.”

The timing was perfect for Cunningham as he was able to sink consecutive birdies on the next holes, both par-5’s, to bring his score back to even. The No. 2 recruit in his class out of high school, Cunningham’s six birdies in the final round helped him to a score of 69 (-2).

Freshman David Laskin posted his best collegiate performance so far on day three. The California native felt comfortable in his home state, shooting even with a score of 71 to finish with an overall of 12-over par.

The other three competing members of the team—Jordan Gumberg, Ethan Marcus and Redford Bobbitt—all shot 4-over par on the final day.

Winds were a problem in the early rounds on the par-71 course. Day three provided some reprieve from the conditions that the competitors were able to take advantage of.

“The wind was down almost all day so the course played slightly easier, but the pin positions were very tough,” Cunningham said.

No. 25 SDSU ended with a dominating day-three performance to win the invitational. The Aztecs shot 10-under par and finished with an overall score of 1-over par, 12 strokes ahead of runner-up Saint Mary’s. Arizona finished above other Pac-12 Conference participants Oregon State (7th, +40) and Washington State (10th, +48).

‘We have made improvements each time out this fall, but there is a lot of work to be done,” Anderson said. “We need consistency on our back-end scoring, and the next two months are going to be key for a few of our guys.”

Arizona is off for two months until hosting the Arizona Intercollegiate starting Jan. 23, 2017, at Sewailo Golf Club.


Follow Mike Adams on Twitter.


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