Derek Hitchner of Pepperdine picked a big tournament for his first college victory.
Hitchner edged Yuri Moriyama of UNLV and Owen Avrit by one stroke while leading the Waves to the team championship in the 76th Western Intercollegiate in breezy conditions at legendary Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz.
“I was very tough out there today, across the board, off the tee, in the fairway and on the greens,” said Hitchner, a graduate student from Minneapolis, Minn. “I got the day off to a shaky start, but I just forgot about it and concentrated on my game, shot-by-shot, and didn’t even look at the scoreboards.
“I used to look at the scoreboard all the time, but I didn’t do it at all today, so I actually thought I was chasing the leaders all day, until after I finished. I was surprised when I found out that I was ahead, even though I played pretty well overall.
“This is great validation to all the hard work I’ve been doing to get to this point.”
Hitchner, who won the Trans-Mississippi Championship and the Minnesota Amateur Championship in 2021, and reached the semifinals of the 2022 U.S. Amateur, made a double-bogey 6 on the second hole in the final round before posting a score of 68-64-71—203, seven-under-par, while Moriyama finished at 68-67-69—204 and Avrit wound up at 65-66-73—204.
Sam Choi of Pepperdine was fourth at 66-65-74—205, followed by Sampson Zheng of Cal at 66-70-70—206.
Aaron Du of Cal carded a score of 63-74-71—208 to end up in a huge tie for sixth with Darien Zhao of UC Irvine, who totaled 67-68-73—208, Christopher Bleier of Colorado State, who shot 70-69-69—208, Gregory Solhaug of Oregon, who finished at 64-75-69—208, Davis Bryant of Colorado State, who wound up at 67-70-71—208, Caden Fioroni of UNLV, who totaled 68-66-74—208, and Keanu Akina of Brigham Young, who came in at 66-68-74—208.
Carl Corpus led San Jose State in a tie for 14th at 69-70-71—210, Michael Thorbjorsen of Stanford tied for 16th at 64-75-72—211, Mahanth Chirravuri of USC shot 72-70-71—213 to finish in a tie for 19th that left him in a tie for 19th that included Trojan teammate Jackson Rivera, who totaled 70-69-74—213, and Justin Hastings of San Diego State tied for 22nd at 71-73-70—214.
Rounding out the scoring for team champion Pepperdine were William Mouw in solo 13th at 69-69-71—209, Luke Gifford in a tie 14th at 69-67-74—210, Ian Maspat in a tie for 19th at 73-69-71—213, Roberto Nieves in a tie for 34th at 77-63-77—217, and Brady Siravo in a tie for 48th at 71-70-78—219.
Pepperdine, which won The Prestige in February among nine top-five finishes this season, posted a winning score of 345-328-361—1034, 16-under-par, followed by Oregon at 335-352-356—1043, Cal at 334-362-354—1050, and Stanford at 339-359-370—1068.
“It was very difficult out there today, so it was great to win the tournament in these conditions,” said Pepperdine Coach Michael Beard, who guided the Waves to the 2021 NCAA Championship. “Our guys did a wonderful job of controlling the conditions and we were competing right to the end.
“When we won The Prestige not long ago, we showed that we could do it, and I believe this was a carryover for us from that tournament. This is going to give us more confidence for the rest of the season.
“We have time get together even more for the WCC Championships and the NCAAs, so we are really excited for the post-season.
Brigham Young totaled 352-340-377—1069 to tie for fifth with Colorado State, which finished at 352-359-358—1069.
UNLV was seventh at 353-356-367—1076, followed by San Diego State at 355-357-366—1078, Arizona at 356-356-368—1080, and host San Jose State at 354-361-375—1090.
USC was 11th at 354-361-377—1092 and UC Irvine finished 14th at 354-364-382—1100.
The last winners of the Western Intercollegiate—Texas, Pepperdine and Stanford—have gone on to win the NCAA Men’s Championship.
Previous winners of this tournament include Ken Venturi of San Jose State, Al Nelson of St. Mary’s, John Lotz of San Jose State, Jerry Heard of Fresno State, Johnny Miller of Brigham Young, Howard Twitty of Arizona State, Peter Jacobsen of Oregon, Mark Lye of San Jose State, Mark O’Meara of Long Beach State, Bobby Clampett of Brigham Young, Jay Don Blake of Utah State, Duffy Waldorf of UCLA, Sam Randolph of USC, Todd Fischer of San Francisco, Arron Oberholser of San Jose State, Joel Kribel of Stanford, Patrick Rodgers of Stanford, Scottie Scheffler of Texas, Maverick McNealy of Stanford, Justin Suh of USC, and Norman Xiong of Oregon.
For complete results, visit https://results.golfstat.com//public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=participants&tid=25780