As Spring Break drew to a close, UCSB sophomore golfer Glen Scher became the first Gaucho to take the title in an individual golf tournament since 2001, finishing seven-under par at the 2011 Barona Collegiate Cup in Lakeside, CA. In the three-round tournament, Scher led the Gauchos to sixth place in a field of 16 teams.
“[Winning] feels pretty awesome,” Scher said. “I’ve had a lot of people tell me I have potential so it was nice to see that play out. But I didn’t know it was almost a decade [since the last win].”
In his second collegiate season, Scher was already familiar with the course of the Barona Cup, having come in fourth place there last season.
“The level of competition was much better than any other tournament [so far this season],” Scher said. “I wasn’t expecting to win but I thought I would do well.”
Scher shot a 70 in the first round, sandwiched between Nevada’s Scott Smith’s 69 and San Diego State’s J.J. Spaun’s 71. By the end of the second round, Scher found himself with a commanding lead after shooting a five-under-par to pull away from both players. SDSU finished the tournament with the win after shooting a collective one-under par.
“The first round I actually played better [than I did in the second] mostly, but I wasn’t making a lot of putts,” Scher said. “The second round I was playing decently but I finished with four birdies in a row.”
The third round saw the arrival of a new opponent: inclement weather.
“It rained for a few hours and it was windy,” Scher said. “I didn’t really know the course of my competitors. I knew someone was close by so I felt pressure, but I finished with a few birdies.”
Scher shot a par 72 in that final round. Smith, who had been one point behind Scher coming into that final round, also shot a 72 to stay in second. The real threat came from Spaun who, despite the weather, had his best round of the tournament, shooting a 69 to put himself in a tie with Smith for second place.
“[Scher] is one of the most physically talented players I’ve ever had, but it takes more than that [to win],” Head Coach Steve Lass said. “This win shows that he’s learning how to play up to that potential.”
As a team, UCSB earned its fourth top-six finish in the last five tournaments. After shooting a 365 and 367 in the first two rounds, the Gauchos found themselves in a position to secure a spot in the top three. However, that same weather that almost cost Scher the title played against UCSB, and a score of 387 in the final round pushed the Gauchos down to sixth place.
“The only difference between the first two rounds and the third round was that in the first two rounds we had one player play a bad round, and we got to throw that out,” Lass said. “In the third round we had two bad rounds and had to keep an 89. If we had gotten an 80 we would have taken third place.”
The Gauchos next compete in the Santa Barbara Intercollegiate Tournament which they will host on the Sandpiper Golf Course in Santa Barbara. This is the first of the final three tournaments before the Big West Championships.
“The difficult thing for me right now is I don’t know who my top five players are,” Lass said. “Usually by now I have an idea of that, and I thought I had an idea of that up until yesterday. In general I think the guys are playing well and I don’t see any reason why we won’t improve as the season goes on.”
The tournament will be played over today and tomorrow. This is the Gaucho’s first and last home tournament of the season.