PALM DESERT, Calif. – The Oregon men’s golf team claimed its first victory of the 2013-14 season, winning the Wyoming Cowboy Desert Intercollegiate by three-strokes with a final team score of 276-279-282—837 (-27). The Ducks were led by Sulman Raza who finished the three-day tournament at 8-under par with a final card of 70-68-70—208 (-8) and finished second on the individual board.
“The guys are doing great,” head coach Casey Martin said. “We’ve had a really good spring so far, we’ve been working hard and it paid off with a good victory. To go down here and beat 23 other teams is a big deal, and I feel great about it.”
The win Sunday marks the first win for Oregon since winning the Duck Invitational last March. The second-place finish for Raza is the best finish in the sophomore's short career at Oregon.
“Sulman did great, he was kind of struggling last week and he came in this week and tried to make things simple and was rewarded with a great tournament,” Martin said. “I think his best in his college career and just missed a victory, so great for him. Everyone contributed, Ryann did awesome. Everyone played a big role in the team win.”
“I thought our team did great this week despite not having a practice round,” Raza said. “We seemed really relaxed, confident and composed under pressure. This is a breakthrough for our team. We’ve worked really hard and are happy to come home with the win.”
When asked about his own performance, Raza said, “I played really well, I was patient out there and just let the birdies come and felt confident on the greens. I tried to stay as relaxed out there as I could and enjoy every shot.”
Colorado shot a 4-under on the final day and took second with a 272-284-284—840 (-24) card. Idaho and TCU tied for third at 15-under on the weekend, a full 12-strokes behind Oregon.
Two other Ducks finished in the top five for Oregon with Ryann Ree tying for third and Brandon McIver tying for fifth. A day after shooting a low-round 66 Saturday, Ree ended with an even-par score with a final score of 71-66-72—209 (-7). McIver shot a 2-under on the final day to end with a 68-72-70—210 (-6).
“Today I tried to be the most relaxed I could be and enjoy having the team and a few of my teammates as well as myself be in contention,” McIver said. “We played really well today and persevered for a good team win.”
Thomas Lim also shot a 70 on the final day and had a final card of 67-80-70—217 (+1). Zach Foushee was the only Duck to shoot over par on the final day with a 73 and finished 4-over on the weekend with a final line of 74-73-73—220 (+4).
“Now we get go home relax a little bit, go to school for a little bit and do it all over again,” Martin said.
The Ducks now have a couple weeks off before staying in-state for the Bandon Dunes Tournament, starting March 9 and ends in March 11 before hosting the 25th Annual Duck Invitational at Emerald Valley Golf Club.