Tonkham Shines in First Season as Bulldog

April 5, 2013

By Elly Walker

FRESNO, Calif.--As a young three-year-old, Troix Tonkham was first introduced to the game of golf and had no cares beyond the plastic club and whiffle ball he played with.

While years past, Tonkham's father inspired him to learn the game and compete competitively.

"My dad kept bringing me to the driving range and I fell in love with the game," Tonkham said.

Since playing golf competitively, Tonkham likes to relate his life to a constant cycle of school, golf and sleep.

"When you work hard, it pays off," Tonkham said. "I love it and that's why I play the game."

Today, Tonkham's father still inspires him and attends a few of his tournaments each year.

"He tells me to stay focused, play well and do my studying," Tonkham said.

In Tonkham's first year as a Bulldog, he has competed in eight tournaments and holds a 72.79 stroke average.

The freshman earned Sysco Student-Athlete of the Week honors during the week of March 11-17 and was also named Mountain West Men's Co-Golfer of the Week for tournaments played during the week of March 5-10.

In that week's span, the Fresno State men's golf team competed in their host tournament, the Fresno State Lexus Classic on March 4-5 and the Bandon Dunes Championship on March 8-10 where the Bulldogs placed second in both tournaments.

Tonkham led the Bulldogs in both tournaments and contributed to their two consecutive second place finishes.

In the Fresno State Lexus Classic, Tonkham led the Bulldogs to their second place finish by firing three-under par, 214 (69-73-73) and finishing in a tie for 13th place.

On the tournament, the freshman birdied a total of 15 times. Tonkham was one of three players who delivered a spectacular back nine during round three and helped roll eight birdies over the final four holes, which moved the 'Dogs from fourth place to the second, where they took their first top three finish of the season.

"I told myself to think positively and get a good run and that's what I did," Tonkham said. "Same with Oregon, I played smart and I ended up winning."

Following the Fresno State Lexus Classic, the Bulldogs traveled to Bandon Dunes, Ore. to compete in the three-day, Gonzaga hosted tournament. Tonkham took an early lead in day one and tied for first at two-under par, 70.

The freshman, determined to keep his name on the leaderboard, did not move below the top-three in the 95-player tournament.

Following day two, Tonkham sat one stroke behind the tournament leader, but persevered through windy and cold weather conditions to take back his first place position. On day three, the freshman fired three-under, 69.

On the tournament, Tonkham made 13 birdies and finished the tournament in first place where he took his first individual title at six-under par, 210 (70-71-69). The freshman's performance led the Bulldogs to their second consecutive second place finish of the season.

Tonkham never imagined winning a tournament in his first season, but hoped to at least take a top five-finish home. Tonkham's first place finish marks his second top 10 finish of the 2012-13 season.

"Troix has that something extra," head coach Mike Watney said. "Lots of people have good swings, but they don't seem to hit the good shot in the pressure situation. Troix still hits great shots under pressure and he has a stellar short game that is better than most college players with more years of experience."

Tonkham currently sits first in the Mountain West among freshmen and 15th overall.

Over the next three and a half years, the Bulldog hopes to win more individual titles and become an All-American.

"He is definitely capable of achieving his goal of being an All-American," Watney said. "I'm confident he will be an All-American more than once. He has definitely helped elevate our golf team."

Following his collegiate career, the freshman would like to receive his Asian tour card and then come back to America and play in the PGA tour.

Follow Troixham and the Bulldogs as they compete at the Western Intercollegiate on March 13-14 in Santa Cruz, Calif. on and check for the recap.