Cal State San Bernardino junior golfer Kenny Pigman, a pivotal part of the Coyotes' run to the brink of winning the NCAA Division II championship in May, showed he is ready for the 2009-10 season with a runnerup finish in the Inland Empire Amateur Championship.
Pigman finished one stroke behind UC Riverside golfer Scott Clayton of San Bernardino, the younger brother of former CSUSB golfer Bill Clayton. The Norco resident shot rounds of 68-68-69 for a 54-hole total of 205, nine under par for the three-day event held at three different Riverside County courses.
Clayton wound up the tournament with a 204 on three straight rounds of 68 over the Moreno Valley Ranch, Goose Creek and Soboba Springs Country Club courses.
Pigman was up by two strokes through 12 holes on Monday at Soboba but missed short putts for birdies at No. 10, No. 11 and No. 13 that could have earned him the title.
"I played a really good round today," Pigman told The Press-Enterprise. "Just Scott played really good, too."
Pigman still led by a stroke at the 16th hole on the final day but Clayton birdied and Pigman's par putt lipped out, a two-shot swing in favor of Clayton.
It wasn't the end, yet, for Pigman. He chipped in from off the green at the 18th hole, but Clayton sank a 15-foot putt for a birdie to salvage the one-stroke victory.
Another UCR golfer, Kevin Fitzgerald, had the first day lead with a 67 with Clayton and Pigman a stroke back at 68. Then, Clayton and Pigman shared the 36-hole lead at 136, each shooting a 68 at Goose Creek.
The Coyotes open the 2009-10 NCAA season in early October with Pigman back in the fold. CSUSB lost only one senior to graduation -- Micah Burke -- who earned all-America honors by finishing ninth at the NCAA national championship.
Gold World Magazine issued its Nike Golf Coaches pre-season poll for 2009-10 on Sept. 3 and the Coyotes were picked No. 9 in the top 25. Sonoma State, the NCAA champion, was tabbed in fifth spot while Cal State Stanislaus was picked No. 12, Chico State No. 15 and Cal State Monterey Bay No. 23.