SOMIS, Calif. - A great deal of high-stakes drama played out during the stretch run of the 2015 West Coast Conference Men's Golf Championships on Wednesday, but at the end of the day Pepperdine rallied for its first league championship since 2010 while the Waves' Cody Cody McManus captured the individual title.
Pepperdine had to win this week to have its season continue, but the Waves began the tournament in seventh place after the first round. They improved to second after Tuesday's second round, just four shots behind Pacific. The Waves and Tigers went back and forth throughout Wednesday's third and final round, and in the end, Pepperdine edged Pacific by three strokes.
Playing at the extremely tough par-72 Saticoy Country Club, the Waves finished with a three-day total of 910 (313-288-309). Scores soared on Wednesday as Santa Ana winds picked up, and the Waves' 309 was the best score of the day.
The Waves won their 18th WCC title, more than any other school. They'll advance to the NCAA Regionals (their first since 2011) on May 14-16. The field will be announced on Monday, May 4.
"We've been talking about having to win conference for a while," said third-year Pepperdine Coach Michael Beard, who was a student-athlete on four WCC championship-winning teams but earned his first title of any sort as a head coach today. "It made it a little more attainable in their own minds having it at Saticoy, where we play a lot. But to do it in these windy conditions, which we're not really used to, is pretty special. We've needed to get a winning mentality back in the program. I'm so happy for these guys, they've been through a lot. It's great to see these guys believe they can do it and then actually go out and do it."
Seemingly every time one looked to Golfstat for an update, the top two spots on the leaderboard flipped. But on the final five holes of the day, the Waves' four scorers played holes five through nine at one-over, while the Tigers were six-over in that time frame. No one was aware of which team pulled off the victory until the final hole was completed.
Nowhere was the Waves' strong finish more evident than in the individual race. McManus (Phoenix, Ariz./Desert Vista HS), a redshirt sophomore, won his first collegiate title with a 4-over 220 (75-71-74). He began the day tied for second place and his 74 was the best score of the day.
But, McManus found himself four shots back of Pacific's Byron Meth with four holes to play. McManus recorded two birdies, a par and a bogey over his final four holes and took advantage when Meth faltered, edging out Pacific's star, the 2014 WCC medalist, by one stroke.
McManus recorded his fifth straight top-20 finish, each time placing better than before. This was his first career top-10 result, however. He had three birdies and an eagle on the par-5 14th hole on Wednesday. McManus became Pepperdine's first WCC individual champion since Michael Putnam in 2003.
Team Standings: 1. Pepperdine 313-288-309=910; 2. Pacific 309-288-316=913; 3. Saint Mary's 310-296-311=917; 4. San Francisco 303-298-322=923; 5. Brigham Young 309-301-315=925; 6. San Diego 307-297-326=930; 7. Gonzaga 314-301-322=937; 8. Loyola Marymount 318-309-317=944; 9. Santa Clara 310-318-326=954.
Top Individuals: 1. Cody McManus (Pepperdine) 75-71-74=220; 2. Byron Meth (Pacific) 74-70-77=221; 3. Connor Campbell (LMU) 71-77-75=223; T4. Jobim Carlos (San Francisco) 74-72-81=227; T4. Perry Cohen (Saint Mary's) 76-76-75=227; T4. Seb Crookall-Nixon (San Francisco) 75-77-75=227.
2015 WCC Individual Awards 2015 WCC Medalist: Cody McManus, Pepperdine (+4) WCC Player of the Year: Byron Meth, Pacific WCC Freshman of the Year: Hayden Shieh, Santa Clara WCC Coach of the Year: Scott Hardy, Saint Mary's
2015 Men's All-WCC Team Jobim Carlos, San Francisco Perry Cohen, Saint Mary's Seb Crookall-Nixon, San Francisco Jonathan De Los Reyes, Saint Mary's James Fahy, Gonzaga Grant Forrest, San Diego Cody McManus, Pepperdine Byron Meth, Pacific Jordan Rodgers, BYU Hayden Shieh, Santa Clara Frederick Wedel, Pepperdine
2015 WCC Honorable Mention Drew Bender, Pacific Mathias Dahl, San Diego Kevin DeHuff, Pepperdine Pavan Sagoo, Saint Mary's Sean Walsh, Gonzaga