Pepperdine Waves men’s golfer Dylan Menante is playing perhaps the best golf of his college career.
The junior from Carlsbad won his second successive golf tournament on April 13, two days after he was named the West Coast Conference’s Golfer of the Month.
Menante finished in first place at the 75th annual Western Intercollegiate in Santa Cruz. He was the only player in the 90-person field to finish below par, with a 1-under 209 (70-72-67).
Menante said winning the three-day event wasn’t easy.
“This week was one of the toughest challenges of golf that I’ve ever played with greens, slops, and an Alister MacKenzie design up to four to five degrees,” he said. “There aren’t many flat spots, and with the wind and potential rain in the first round, it was quite a challenge.”
Menante became the second straight Pepperdine golfer to snag the West Intercollegiate’s trophy and famed blue letterman’s jacket that is given to the winner. Senior Joe Highsmith won the spectacle in 2021.
Menante is also the first Wave ever to win back-to-back tournaments in nearly three decades. The third-year college golfer won the Valspar Collegiate Invitational last month for his first college title. The last Pepperdine golfer to win consecutive events was Kevin Marsh in the fall of 1993.
Menante led Pepperdine, one of college golf’s top 10 teams, to a second-place finish at the Western Intercollegiate. Pepperdine had a three-day total of 1,076 (370-361-345) at the play-six, count-five event at the par-70 Pasatiempo Golf Club. The Waves finished one stroke behind top-finishing Texas.
Menante won the WCC’s top golfer of the month honor for March because of this play.
He won the March 28-29 Valspar Collegiate Invitational by shooting 14-under 199 to win by one shot. Menante’s 14-under tied the seventh-best 54-hole score in Pepperdine history. Pepperdine won the Valspar event.
Menante averaged 68.55 strokes per round and seven of his nine rounds were below par in three tournaments last month. He ended March ranked 34th in the Golfstat rankings — best in the WCC — after starting the month outside of the top 100.
The golfer tied for seventh place at the National Invitational Tournament with a 10-under 206 and had a final-round 8-under 64, tying the seventh-best round in program history. Menante tied for 21st at the Southern Highlands Collegiate with a 4-under 212. He downed 19 top-100 players at Valspar, 16 top-10 players at the NIT and seven top-100 players at Southern Highlands. Pepperdine finished second at Southern Highlands and third at the NIT.
Menante began the last round of the Western Intercollegiate tied for second place, but three shots out of the lead. He had birdies on the fourth, eighth, and ninth holes to put him atop the field. Menante lost the lead briefly, but birdies on 11 and 13 got him to 3-under. He ended the event with five straight pars to cement the win.
Four players — Carson Lundell of BYU, Pierceson Coody of Texas, and Rasmus Hjelm of Colorado State — tied for second behind Menante.
Derek Hitchner, a Waves senior, finished the tournament in a tie for seventh place at 214 (73-74-67). His last round score included zero bogeys and birdies on holes five, six, and nine.
Junior William Mouw tied for 13th at 216 (76-69-71). He recorded three birdies in a five-hole stretch on the front nine.
Highsmith tied for 22nd at 219 (73-73-73) and had three birdies in the third round. Senior Joey Vrzich had four birdies on the last day and finished tied for 36th at 224 (78-73-73). Ian Maspat, a freshman, tied for 58th at 228 (83-78-67). His third round, 3-under 67 included six birdies — three on the front nine and three on the back nine.
The Waves, the winners of three straight conference titles, will play at the WCC Championships at Reflection Bay Golf Club in Nevada on April 28-30.
Menante said Pepperdine’s play in the Western Intercollegiate gives him and his teammates, the defending national champions, confidence.
“Going into conference, regionals, nationals, it gives us such a better opportunity to win and repeat again,” he said.