NCAA West Regionals Day 3: UW Posts Historic 29-Stroke Victory; Lee Earns Medalist Honors; Williams Gets an Ace

TRACKING THE NCAA WEST REGIONAL GOLF TOURNAMENT AT GOLD MOUNTAIN:

2:50 p.m.: It’s over: Washington’s day couldn’t have gone much better. The Huskies finished 20 under par and won by 29 strokes over USC. The UW’s Richard Lee (68-208), Chris Williams (65-210) and Darren Wallace (72-211) finished 1-2-3. Williams’ 65 ties the Olympic Course record previously set by Troy Kelly during a U.S. Open qualifier in 2003.  Mix in Chris Williams’ ace on No. 8, Lee’s eagle on No. 15 and Charlie Hughes’ eagle on No. 2 and you can see why the Huskies had a lot to howl about. Anyway you slice it, it was, as coach Matt Thurmond said, “a historic” victory.

11:50 a.m.: A couple of locals, Mike Tessier, and Bob Holmes, won the drawings the first two days. Tessier won a custom Ping driver, while Holmes won four tickets to a Husky football game. Another winner will be pulled out later today. Denver’s Espen Kofstad’s now 6 under and leading the tournament. I’m gonna head out and check out some golf. I’ll be back with an update later.

11:35: Chris Williams, who just finished No. 9 with a par, had a hole-in-one on No. 8. The UW freshman from Moscow, Idaho, played the front side at the Olympic Course 4-under to move within two strokes of the leaders — teammates Richard Lee and Darren Wallace. Williams has a real shot at breaking the course record today. The back nine usually produces lower scores. Stay tuned. Oh, Washington’s stretched its team lead to 23 strokes.

Also, a Kelly update: He’s 5-under for the day and sixth at the Nationwide Tournament in Raleigh, N.C.

10:36 a.m. update: The story of the day, thus far, is Eastern Michigan, which is 9 under for the day, moving from ninth to fifth. The five teams go to nationals. Washington, ho hum, is now leading by 19 strokes as it continues to pull away from the field. UW’s Richard Lee and Denver’s Espen Kofstad  are tied for the individual lead at 5 under. Both are 1 under for the day. UW’s Darren Wallace has lost a stroke to drop back to -4.

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If anybody’s coming out to Gold Mountain to watch the final round, you’ll have to hunt for a parking spot. The lot is full. There’s a tournament going on the Cascade Course and it looks like there might be more gallery out here today watching the college guys. Here’s my story after Friday’s second round.

Washington started the day with a 16-stroke lead. They can already make reservations to Chattanooga, Tenn., for the national championships. The only question today is how many strokes they’ll win by. (The Huskies are up 18 now). There’s also a pretty good battle going on for medalist honors. Washington’s Darren Wallace (-5) and Richard Lee (-4) and Denver’s Espen Kofstad (-4) were the top dogs going in to the final 18 holes. Kofstad’s playing as an individual. The low individual not on one of the qualifying five teams moves on, so this is a big round for Kofstad.

Lee and Wallace are playing their second hole, while Kofstad’s just getting ready to tee off.

Kelly Update: Troy Kelly, an ex-Husky star and Central Kitsap grad, was 4-under through 11 holes, moving into a tie for 4th at the Rex Hospital Open in Raleigh, N.C. After missing cuts in his first three Nationwide events, Kelly tied for 11th last week and seems headed for another top finish this week. That’s a good sign for the 31-year-old, who has been troubled by a hip injury. Surgery is a possibility, his dad, Bob Kelly, said. We’ll try to catch up with Troy next week.

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