WAIKOLOA, Hawaii --- Collegiate golf being an individual sport can be both a blessing and a curse at times.
Tuesday at the PacWest Men's Golf Championship it was definitely a blessing for California Baptist University's Steven Watson as the junior won the individual title at the conference tournament.
As scores rose all around him thanks to windy weather, Watson carded his second 69 of the tournament, finishing at 211 (69-73-69) after entering the day in a four-way tie for second place. Watson wins the tournament in the Lancers' first season as a member of the conference. He was one of just two players to shoot under par in the final round.
"It was tough out there today, but I just made sure to stay focused on my goal of finishing strong," said Watson. "When I came in and they told me I won it was an amazing feeling. This is a great team to be a part of and without these guys pushing me every day I couldn't have done it."
Watson was also named Co-PacWest Player of the Year, Newcomer of the Year and part of the All-Conference first team. It was Watson's second tournament win this season.
"Winning earlier in the year gave me a ton of confidence going into today because it showed me I could finish a tournament," said Watson, who becomes the first Lancer to win multiple tournaments in a season.
As a team the Lancers shot 311 on the final day to finish in fourth. CBU shot 901 (297-293-311) overall in the tournament. The Lancers were picked pre-tournament to finish fifth.
"I was happy with the way the guys held position today even through some really tough playing conditions and I'm extremely proud of the way Steven closed out this tournament," said CBU Head Coach Lane Pace. "This is a tough conference that is going to send three teams to the NCAA Regional. For us to finish Top 5 and Steven to win is a great accomplishment and something to be proud of. The final round Steven put together was amazing and shows why he is one of the best golfers in this conference."
CBU's final round 311 was the third best of the day as the Lancers gained ground on third place Hawaii-Hilo (895).
Grand Canyon won the tournament with an 871 (289-283-299) and Dixie State finished second at 887 (286-295-306).
The other four CBU players finished in the Top 30 with Leonard Rooney finishing tied for 23 at 230 (75-72-83), Fredrik Hansson tying for 25th at 231 (77-75-79), and Micah Machado (76-75-81) and Tim Tait (77-73-82) shooting 232 to finish tied for 27th.
"This was a season where the guys learned some things and had some accomplishments we can build on," said Pace. "We won two tournaments, shot some low scores and showed we can compete in a very tough conference."
CBU returns nearly its entire roster with Tait being the lone graduating senior on the squad. CBU won an NCCAA National Championship early in the year and also won the CMS Invitational. The Lancers had four Top 5 finishes, shot two of the three lowest rounds in program history this year and had the two best ever tournament scores this season.
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