Men’s golf team takes second places

(From left) Chico State golfers Alistair Docherty, Lee Gearhart and Justin Wiles. They have placed first and second in their first two tournaments of the year. Photo credit: Christine Zuniga

The Wildcats came up one shot short of winning their second tournament in a row, and it happened in dramatic style with a huge comeback midway through the final and second day of the tournament.

The Wildcats ended the first day of the Regional Preview at the New Mexico State University golf course at 8-over par. They were in a three-way tie for eighth place and were ten shots behind the first place leader, Western New Mexico.

Day two seemed to pick up just where day one left off as Chico State fell five spots to 13th place and looked like it was in for a disappointing day. That’s when the Wildcats turned it on and the birdies began to drop.

Two-time All-American Alistair Docherty birdied on holes nine, 15 and 16, Lee Gearhart birdied 12 and 13, Justin Wiles 14 and 15 and true first-year Matt Hutchins finished the day with 5 birdies on holes four, 13, 15, 17 and 18.

Even after a day where they had 16 of their 24 total birdies, they ended up one shot short of first place, finishing second at 4-over par.

“We knew we were capable of scoring very low as a team, so we just went in confident that we could make the comeback,” Docherty said. “It’s tough to make such a good run at it and come up just short, but we can learn from it.”

Docherty, who won last weeks National Preview in Denver, had another strong outing. He placed third with a score of 4-under par shooting a 67 the first day and an even 71 on day two.

Gearhart finished in a four-way tie for 13th at 1-over par racking up a 72 on day one, and following it up with an even 71 on the final day.

All-American Wiles had a nightmarish start to the tournament shooting an 83 the first day, but finished strong on day two scoring a team best 68 and tied for 78th. Hutchins finished tied for 56th.

Chico State will host the Interwest Insurance Wildcat Classic Monday, Oct. 5-6 for its only home tournament of the year.

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