UNIVERSITY PLACE – Chambers Bay will be expected to provide a very tough challenge to the world’s best golfers when it plays host to the U.S. Open in June 2015.
But the course didn’t seem too tough for University of San Diego junior Grant Forrest at the 18-team Redhawk Invitational, hosted by Seattle University. He shot rounds of 63 and 65 Monday in ideal wind-free conditions to take a seven-shot lead. His 1-over 72 Tuesday was good enough to give him a three-shot victory over Arizona State’s Jon Rahm at 11-under 200.
Also winning by three shots was UCLA as the Bruins held off a late rally from Washington to take the team title with a 9-under 835 score. San Diego finished in third, three shots behind UW.
People around the course Tuesday were still talking about Forrest’s rounds Monday. His career-best round had been a 65 entering the event. Washington star Cheng-Tsung Pan didn’t think a 63 was possible on a course as difficult as Chambers Bay.
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“I hit my driver really well, my iron play was really good and it was nice to roll in some putts,” said Forrest, who is from North Berwick, Scotland. “When we came out on Saturday and played, it was windy and rainy and the course was a beast. We didn’t keep score, but it definitely wasn’t under par.”
Forrest seems to thrive in this part of the country. He won the West Coast Conference title last year at Gold Mountain in Bremerton.
It was a solid final round for Washington, which trailed by 10 shots with a few holes remaining.
Pan, a junior, had the best final round for Washington with a 2-under 69. Senior Trevor Simsby shot a 70 and was the Huskies’ top overall finisher, ending up in fifth place at 3-under 208. Teammates Corey Pereira and Jonathan Sanders tied for seventh at 1-under and Pan tied for 12th at even par.
“We were down by two (to start the day) and came out and played our best round,” said UW coach Matt Thurmond. “We shot 4 under for the day, which is good, and you have to give UCLA credit. They played really well. But we want to win, and we’re disappointed we didn’t.”
Pan, who played at Chambers in the 2010 U.S. Amateur, said the course played much easier than it did at the Amateur, when a low score was almost impossible.
“The greens were firmer and a lot faster for the Amateur, and a couple of holes (this week) played shorter because of the alternate greens,” he said. “Today was good. I made a couple of dumb mistakes, but I played solid.”
Seattle University did not post a final team score because of an injury withdrawal and a disqualification, but it did get what it wanted — great weather for the loaded field from around the country. After a very sunny day Monday, it was nice Tuesday until the rain came in the final couple of holes. Kyle Cornett led Seattle U, finishing tied for 29th at 7 over.
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