BANDON DUNES, Ore. – The University of Utah men’s golf team earned a tie for second place while Braxton Watts posted the Utes’ top score and tied for 12th on the final day of the Bandon Dunes Championship, which was held on Tuesday at the Bandon Dunes Golf Course.
“We played exceptionally well for fourteen holes then we did not finish the job,” said head coach Garrett Clegg. “We have a lot to learn about what it takes to win a golf tournament and hopefully today we learned some of those lessons.
“Martín and Go had really good days and Braxton was able to have another good tournament. He was just outside of the top ten. Overall, [there’s] a lot to build on for the future.”
Utah’s second-place finish in a field of 18 teams surpasses their fourth place showing in their previous event, the Desert Intercollegiate, as their highest finish in 2023. The team’s round two total of 288 put the Utes at exactly even for the day, 12-over for the tournament and moved them up one spot into a tie with Oregon State. The Oregon Ducks, who logged a 36-hole score of 5-over, took home the tournament title.
Watts, who started his day on the first tee, had to battle through a few front-nine hiccups, but started the back nine with three birdies over his first four holes. Watts’ back-nine score was 2-under, helping him post an even-par 72 for the round and finish the competition at 2-over and with a share of 12th. This is the second top-15 finish in three spring events for Watts, who started the season’s second half by grabbing 10th at the John Burns Intercollegiate.
Martín León and Go Nakatsukasa were both 1-under on Tuesday and León’s play allowed him to climb 13 spots up the leaderboard and tie for 23rd. The sophomore from Santiago, Chile saw his day start with a birdie before he reeled off 10 consecutive pars, then strung together a trio of birdies on the 14th, 15th and 16th. León’s final round 71 put him 4-over for the tournament.
Nakatsukasa got his day started with an eagle on the par-5 third and soon after, he put together a stretch of five birdies in six holes, including three-in-a-row on the 12th, 13th and 14th. Despite a difficult end to his afternoon, Nakatsukasa’s 71 goes into the books as the second-lowest round of his freshman year and it moved him up 27 spots into a tie for 49th.
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