Men?s golf breaks school records at invitational

Marshall Hampson

Junior Jake Johnson and the rest of the men’s golf team set school records and came away with a win at the Purple and Red Invitational on Oct. 12 at Valley View Golf Club in Layton, Utah.

After being down by 10 strokes at the start of the final round, Sacramento State came back to beat out Washington State University by one stroke – setting the team 54-hole school record with a score of 857.

Johnson helped spark the rally and shot a 65 and a 69 in the final two rounds to set the individual 54-hole school record with a 204. His three-round score of 70-65-69 beat the school record by five strokes.

“It’s a cool thing to have a piece of Sac State history that might stand up for a while. This was kind of a relief for me,” Johnson said. “During the summer, I put myself in contention about 4-5 times and never came out with a win. So being able to pull it off and play well in the third round was an awesome experience.”

Johnson is the first Hornet to win a tournament since Scott DeBorba in March 2009. After ending the 19-month-long drought, Johnson said one reason his win finally came was because Valley View Golf Club is built for his style of play.

“There is just something about that course,” Johnson said. “Every hole on that course seems to be set up really well for me and I feel really comfortable because I played really well at that course last year.”

Johnson said after he birdied the 11th hole, he felt he had the tournament locked up.

“I started out with the lead at the start of the round and was even par through eight,” Johnson said. “I knew that I was giving a chance for everybody to get back in it and then I birdied the ninth, 10th and 11th hole to put me at 3-under. That’s when I knew that this was the week I could win it.”

The men’s golf team has not won a tournament since 2009 at the Cal Poly Men’s Invitational. But with a second-place finish by junior Grant Rappleye at the Purple and Red Invitational, the men were able to get a victory.

“We all played well and we haven’t played well all year, so we were all wondering when it was all going to click,” Rappleye said. “That’s our main goal – just keep winning.”

Rappleye shot a 70-69-70-209 to beat out third place Tyson McFarland of Utah State University. With a score of 209, Rappleye is now tied for second all-time in school history with the best 54-hole score.

His brother Cameron Rappleye finished tied for 31st with a three-round score of 220. Director of golf David Sutherland said having the five guys that were selected for this tournament play well, including Jake Pieno and Jordan Weir, made the team a strong force.

“I think we a have a really cohesive team,” Sutherland said. “They all work really hard. I mean, after the first round, we were the last to leave the course. If you get two guys playing really well and two or three guys playing solid golf, you’re going to be really tough to beat.”

Pineo finished the tournament with a score of 227, while Weir shot a 229. With solid play from a young team, Sutherland said he is looking forward to the team’s capability for the rest of the season.

“The one thing you have to look at with the win at Utah was that there was not a senior on that team,” Sutherland said. “So this will be a team that will be together for a couple more years. The future is very bright.”

Even though Johnson and Grant Rappleye took the top two spots for the tournament, Johnson admired how well the entire team played to win the tournament and break a school record.

“It’s cool to get a record as an individual, but when you get one as a team, it’s a totally different experience,” Johnson said. “In order to win as a team, you need to have four or five players play well for the week and I think this was a confidence booster for the team. We know we have a lot of talent to win a lot of our tournaments, but we’ve never been able to put together a week together like we did.”

The Hornets look to carry the momentum at the Bill Cullum Invitational in Simi Valley, Calif., on Monday.

“I expect this team is going to win the next two or three tournaments they play in,” Sutherland said. “They are just a really good, solid team and I don’t think this was a fluke at all.”

Marshall Hampson can be reached at mhampson@statehornet.com