Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic -- Final Results (PDF)
EL PASO, Texas -- Hole one at the El Paso Country Club was the epicenter of the collegiate golf world Tuesday afternoon. That's where -- on the sixth hole of a playoff against Oklahoma State's Trent Leon -- Marquette senior Mike Van Sickle sank a seven-foot birdie putt to complete a near-improbable comeback and win the 34th Annual Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic.
"He went out an proved that he may be the best in college golf," Marquette head coach Tim Grogan said of Van Sickle. "He's definitely been the best player this fall. It was remarkable."
Van Sickle shot an eight-under-par 63 at the par-71, 6842-yard course, a collegiate low and one stroke shy of the tournament record, to climb to the top spot on the leaderboard Tuesday with a three-round total of 207 (74-70-63). He was tied for 11th place at the start of today's final round, six strokes behind leader Corey Nagy of Charlotte.
"Today was probably my best golf day ever," said Van Sickle, whose individual record is 60 carded at Tom's Run Golf Course in his home state of Pennsylvania. "I kind of realized that to win would take a special round today. To come from behind like that, and to prevail in a six-hole playoff was amazing. On top of that, I was playing with 26 other All-Americans."
One of 10 players to be invited back to the event, labeled as one of the most prestigious in college golf, Van Sickle recorded four birdies and a pair of eagles to rally past some of the biggest names currently playing on the amateur circuit.
Van Sickle drained a 40-foot eagle putt on the par-5 hole nine and holed out with a 50-yard pitch on the par-4 hole 15.
"I couldn't even see the hole," he said of his shot on 15. "Once I holed out for eagle, I thought I must be getting close to the leader."
Although the invite-only tournament is not a team event, it's the fourth victory for Van Sickle in six collegiate starts this fall and his school-record 10th win as a Golden Eagle. It's the third victory this season that he's had to come from behind to win. He finished 17th at last year's event. Former champions include Tiger Woods (Stanford), Notah Begay (Stanford), David Duval (Georgia Tech) and Ricky Barnes (Arizona).
Past Tournament Champions
1974 Jerry Pate, Alabama
1975 Randy Simmons, Texas
1976 Scott Simpson, USC
1977 Mike Gove, Weber State
1978 Gary Hallberg, Wake Forest
1979 Tim Norris, Fresno State
1980 Jay Don Blake, Utah State
1981 Willie Wood, Oklahoma State
1982 Billy Ray Brown, Houston
1983 John Slaughter, Houston
1984 Davis Love III, North Carolina
1985 Sam Randolph, USC
1986 Bill Mayfair, Arizona State
1988 Chris Patton, Clemson
1989 Chris Patton, Clemson
1990 Geoff Griffin, Fresno State
1991 David Duval, Georgia Tech
1992 Robert Damron, Central Florida
1993 Chris Riley, UNLV
1994 Notah Begay, Stanford
1995 Tiger Woods, Stanford
1996 Chad Wright, USC
1997 Alberto Ochoa, TCU
1998 Jeremy Anderson, UNLV
1999 Matt Kuchar, Georgia Tech
2000 Ricky Barnes, Arizona
2001 Brad Heaven, Toledo
2002 Adam Rubinson, TCU
2003 Chris Nallen, Arizona
2004 Nicholas Thompson, Georgia Tech
2005 Luke List, Vanderbilt
2006 Chris Kirk, Georgia
2007 Webb Simpson, Wake Forest
2008 Mike Van Sickle, Marquette