For the second straight season, the Idaho menâ€™s golf team earned the Big Sky title while setting new conference records in the process.
The Vandals trailed Sacramento State by four strokes entering the final day of competition, and relied on a strong showing on the front nine to erase the Hornet advantage and claim the victory.
â€œOur goal today was to get after the course early,â€ Idaho head coach David Nuhn said. â€œWe knew the first six holes were going to be extremely important.â€
The four members of the Vandal team finished the first nine holes at 11-under-par, while Sacramento State earned a score of 5-under-par during the same stretch.
â€œWe were 11-under on the front nine which is a fantastic score,â€ Nuhn said. â€œWe kept the pressure on and around hole 12 it turned in our favor.â€
The Vandals shattered the teamâ€™s previous conference record for the lowest score in a 54-hole span, totaling 842 strokes over the three-day event. Idaho finished 22-under-par, while Sacramento State finished 15-under-par with a score of 849.
Hartford finished in third with an even score of 864 strokes.
â€œEvery single tournament this spring I felt there was a progress in a positive manner,â€ Nuhn said. â€œThis was the first victory of the spring but it came at the right time. To shoot 17-under today was a huge deal.â€
Idaho sophomore Daniel Sutton came close to earning the individual lead, falling to Evan Russell of Hartford by one stroke. Sutton shot a 9-under-par 207, while Russell finished with a 10-under-par 206.
â€œToday was probably one of the best ball-striking rounds I have had all year,â€ Sutton said. â€œI gave myself a lot of chances to make birdies. I made a couple of eagles which was nice.â€
Idaho junior Ryan Porch also finished with a 9-under par to tie Sutton for second place.
â€œIf I had played better maybe I could have beat Ryan,â€ Sutton said. â€œWe tied so I am happy.â€
Porch said he narrowly missed an opportunity to find himself atop the leaderboard.
â€œI had a late run with an eagle on 16,â€ Porch said. â€œThat was huge. Followed it with a birdie on 17. I had a chance to tie for the lead on 18, I just did not quite execute it.â€
Senior Rylee Iacolucci finished in a tie for seventh overall with a 4-under-par 212, while sophomore Ian Kim finished with an 8-over-par 224.
Freshman Jacob Scarrow finished the competition in 27th with a 9-over-par 225.
Idaho will learn its seeding for the NCAA Regional on Thursday. The Golf Channel will air the selection show at 6:30 a.m.
Josh Grissom can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @GoshJrissom
(Photo Courtesy by Big Sky Conference)