Coming Out Swinging

Pepperdine Waves men’s golf team

The Pepperdine Waves men’s golf team won its first tournament of the season earlier this month. The squad, ranked first in the nation before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the stoppage of their spring season, won the Oct. 5-6 Pasadera Collegiate Invitational in Monterey. 

Senior Joshua McCarthy finished the invitational with his first college title in hand after he defeated fellow Wave Dylan Menante, a sophomore, in a playoff. McCarthy hit a birdie putt on the second hole to win the event. His best score, 6-under 64, was in the final round. McCarthy had five birdies in his first seven holes on the final day of the event and eight birdies overall. He had 17 birdies throughout the event. Both Waves finished three shots better than anyone else, with a 14-under 196. 

Pepperdine finished the five-team invitational with a total of a 46-under 794 (265-264-265). The squad was on pace to break a school record of 52-under for a tournament, but on the back nine, the squad’s torrid golfing chilled and it would up with the second-best 54-hole score in Waves’ history. 

Four Waves occupied the top slots in the individual standings, and all 10 of the Pepperdine participants at the event finished in the top 18. Seven of the top nine finishers were Pepperdine players. 

Junior Joe Highsmith finished tied for third place with an 11-under 199 (66-64-69). Joey Vrzich, a senior, also finished third. He posted an 11-under 199 (65-67-67). Highsmith had an eagle and a birdie in the last round, while Vrzich had six of his 17 birdies on the final day. 

Caden Fioroni, a freshman, was fifth with a 10-under 200 (67-66-67), and in his last round had five of his 17 birdies. Sophomore William Mouw tied for seventh with an 8-under 202 (68-66-68) and had six birdies on the competition’s final day. The other seventh place finisher, junior Derek Hitchner, had an 8-under 202 (67-67-68) with three birdies in the last round. 

Senior Clay Feagler tied for 12th with a 4-under 206 (71-69-66), and his classmate, RJ Manke, tied for 14th with a 3-under 207 (73-64-70). Austin Murphy, also a senior, finished tied for 17th with a 2-under 208 (70-68-70). Feagler had five birdies and an eagle in his first seven holes on the last day; Manke had four birdies and an eagle; and Murphy had three birdies. 

At presstime, Manke had finished leading his team in the first round of the Maridoe Collegiate Invitational in Carrollton, Texas. The senior was tied for third place in the event after shooting at 1-under 71 on Oct. 18. Manke was just one of five players to shoot below-par. The golfer birdied the second hole then posted seven straight pars to be 1-under. He birdied the 14th and 16th holes to get at 1-under after a couple of bogeys. 

Pepperdine’s opening round of 302 was three shots back of Baylor, the competition’s leader.