Men’s golf team starts season with a roar

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Lee Gearhart, former CCAA Player of the Year, placed 14th for Chico State at the NCAA DII National Preview. Photo credit: Kenta Mcafee

The Wildcats came into their first tournament of the year at the NCAA DII National Preview in Denver, Colorado looking to make a big statement in the 2015 season.

Chico State held an 8-shot lead after the first day and never let up. The Wildcats won the tournament with a score of 20-under par and a 13-stroke advantage over Barry and Nova Southeastern, who finished tied for second place at 7-under par.

Two-time All-American, Alistair Docherty, won medalist honors for Chico State by two strokes as he scored a 9-under par and shot a 69 in each of the three rounds. Docherty led all competitors with 17 birdies.

“The individual win is a great start,” Docherty said. “I’ve worked very hard since Nationals last year, and it’s nice to see the hard work pay off.”

Another bright spot was true first-year Matt Hutchins who, in his first-ever collegiate play, scored a 7-under par and shared a four-way tie for second place.

Hutchins started off like a rookie, posting three bogeys in his first six holes, but finished strong, going 10-under the rest of the way. Hutchins was also one of the five participants to be selected for the All-Tournament team.

Senior Lee Gearhart, the two-time defending CCAA Golfer of the Year, finished the tournament tied for 14th for the Wildcats, scoring 2-under par.

Although getting the individual win was big, Docherty says the team win is much more meaningful.

“We weren’t the top team ranked at the tournament, but I feel we sent a strong message to all the teams that overlooked us,” Docherty said. “We still have a lot to work on as a team, but we couldn’t have asked for a better start.”

The Chico State men’s golf team is now 1-0 in team wins, and will tee off next at the Regional Preview in New Mexico on Monday, Sept. 28.

Jason Spies can be reached at [email protected] or @Jason_Spies on Twitter.