It isn’t always possible to put a finger on where, exactly, a winning team found its edge. In the case of Pomona-Pitzer, however, connecting the dots is relatively easy.
After winning the Golfweek D3 October Classic on Tuesday, what head coach John Wurzer calls the biggest regular-season victory in program history, Wurzer could pretty confidently point to the long holes at Baytowne Golf Links in Sandestin, Florida. He coaches a team of longer-than-average players, and so Wurzer had been chewing on par-5 scoring for a while.
“The first day, they were 9 under on the par 5s,” Wurzer said. “It was, for us, a really amazing performance on those holes and it really kind of separated us the first day.”
For the week, Pomona-Pitzer played the par 5s in 11 under. Carnegie Melon, which finished runner-up to the Sagehens, played them in 4 over. Pomona-Pitzer finished 54 holes at 15 over, 18 shots ahead of Carnegie Melon, the team that had topped Pomona-Pitzer two weeks ago at the Fall Preview.
That’s easy math, and it’s not like Wurzer had intricate, detailed plans for his players – though they could have easily followed them if he did.
Wurzer, in his sixth season as the head coach of Pomona-Pitzer, notes that his program attracts an Ivy League-kind of athlete. “They have to be amazing students, so they’re poised, they’re smart, they’re aware, they’re very coachable,” he said.
It’s a unique setup back home in Claremont, California, where Pomona College and Pitzer College, two separate institutions that combine into one athletic program, help comprise the “5Cs” that also include Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College and Harvey Mudd College. The latter three compete in the combined Claremont-Mudd-Scripps athletic program.
Pomona-Pitzer competes in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference along with perennial powerhouse programs Redlands and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The area is loaded with talent, to the point that Wurzer said his team never competes in a tournament where there isn’t at least a top-8 school in the field. The proverbial bar is no further than two stout par 5s away. That’s the distance to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, which won the 2018 D3 women’s golf title.
“Our main rival for golf is 1,000 yards away, on the same campus,” Wurzer said.
When Wurzer arrived in Claremont six years ago, Pomona-Pitzer was a talented program that had never won the conference title. The Sagehens won it the past…