In its final outing of the season, the UCSB men’s golf team finished fifth out of nine schools in the Big West Championship at the La Quinta Mountain Course on April 29, 30 and May 1. The Gauchos shot 867 over the three days, finishing nine shots behind first place UC Davis. Senior Kei Kita and sophomore Paul Otte both finished in the top five, at third and fourth respectively.
“Paul played a great round of golf yesterday [Monday],” Head Coach Steve Lass said. “I think no bogies during the entire round, the low round of the day and Kei just played really well all three days.”
Kita shot 72 in the first round on Sunday but followed that with a strong second round, shooting a 69 on Monday, just two strokes behind the leader Otte, who shot a 67 in that round.
“I kind of felt like I was in a groove for the first nine holes,” Kita said. “I hit a lot of good shots that day, had a lot of good putts and at the end of the day it turned out to be a 69.So it was good.”
Kita capped off his tournament with a 71 on Tuesday and led the Gauchos with a total of 212 in the Big West Championship. Otte finished just one shot behind Kita, tying for fourth place overall with his 213 score.
Otte surrounded his great second round with a 71 in the first round but saw a slight decline in his performance in the third round, where he shot a 75.
Unfortunately the Gauchos lost senior Tyler Sterk to an illness on Saturday that forced him to sit out of the championship. He was replaced by junior Jordan Epstein who struggled, putting up a total of 240.
“It is kind of tough to get the call at the last minute, and Jordan has been kind of struggling with his game.” Lass said. “It made things a little more difficult for the team but all in all I thought fifth place was a good finish.”
To finish off his career, senior Russell Boring tied for No. 16 overall, as he improved his score by one each day, going from 74 to 73 and finally to a 72 in day three, totaling to 219. Freshman Hunter Robinson tied for No. 26 with a 223.
“We’ve got a bunch of great guys on our team, lots of talent,” Kita said. “In the second round we played a great round of golf. We shot like 500 as a team, so obviously the talent is there, so hopefully we will be able to keep this going. It should be good for the future Gauchos.”