Nevada golf wins its own Wolf Pack Classic

UNR Golfer Casey Watabu chips the ball at the 5th hole at Genoa Lakes Golf Course Tuesday afternoon.  photo by Rick Gunn

UNR Golfer Casey Watabu chips the ball at the 5th hole at Genoa Lakes Golf Course Tuesday afternoon. photo by Rick Gunn

GENOA -- Just call them Tom Duncan's army, because the University of Nevada men's golf players came up with a charge down the stretch that made the difference.

Nevada's play in the last 11 holes was enough to defend its title at the Wolf Pack Classic on Tuesday at Genoa Lakes. The Wolf Pack finished at 13-under-par to edge Denver by one stroke for the title.

The Wolf Pack finished at 22-under 842 while Denver finished at 843. Washington State, which led after Monday's first two rounds, placed third at 844.

Despite another solid day, Nevada's Sprague Kolp was unable to defend his title, losing in a sudden death playoff to Denver's Erik Billinger. Kolp entered the final round one stroke behind Billinger. Kolp fired a 5-under 67 in Tuesday's round and while Billinger shot a 68.

Both players finished with a three-round total of 14-under 202. Billinger went on to win in the first playoff hole on hole No. 1.

Nevada entered the last round seven strokes behind Washington State and four strokes behind Denver.

"That is a lot in college golf," said Duncan about how many strokes his team had to make up.

After hitting a shot out of bounds and going on to double bogey to fall back to 1-under, Nevada's Cullen Brasfield shot 5-under over the last 11 holes to finish with a 6-under 66 on Tuesday.

"Cullen Brasfield plays as exciting golf as we've ever seen," Duncan said. "He kept his composure and played real solid for us."

Also for the Wolf Pack, Mike Haack was at even-par for Nevada, but birdied three of the last four holes to finish at 3-under 69.

"They're a pretty tough three to beat," said Duncan about Kolp, Brasfield and Haack. "I'd put my one-two-three against anybody in the country at this point. Sprague is one of the best players in the country."

In addition for Nevada, Ian Hagen birdied the 18th hole to finish at 1-over 73.

"I'm thrilled with the kids," Duncan said. "Right off the bat we got off to a great start. The whole team played outstanding golf."

Kolp took a one stroke lead over Billinger when he birdied No. 15 on Tuesday. Kolp and Billinger each birdied 17 and it appeared that Kolp had when he crushed his drive on the 449-yard par 4 18th hole.

Kolp went on to send his second shot to within 20 feet of the hole on the back side of the green. Meanwhile, Billinger's shot left him a more difficult putt from the fringe. But Billinger was able to make his birdie putt to force the playoff when Kolp just missed his putt.

On the first playoff hole, it was Billinger who crushed his drive, setting up a second shot in which he left his ball about 12 feet from the hole on the back side of the green.

This time, Kolp had the more difficult putt from the fringe and he left his putt on the lip of the cup. Billinger followed by sinking his birdie putt for the win.

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