Led by sophomore Brett Silvernail’s first-place score, the UCSB golf team closed out the Big West Conference Championship yesterday with a fourth-place finish.
The three-day competition held at the Country Club at Soboba Springs saw the Gauchos end with an overall score of 892, five shots off co-champions Cal State Fullerton and Pacific, who won with a score of 887.
“Actually we were somewhat disappointed in the fourth place finish,” Assistant Head Coach Jim Ley said. “We definitely had enough talent to win this tournament; we played a terrible first round and we couldn’t catch back up.”
UCSB came into the final day of the competition in sixth place, but shot 7-over par 295 in the final round, the lowest score on the day of any team, to secure its fourth-place result. Santa Barbara was two strokes off defending champions UC Davis for third overall.
In the individual leader board, Silvernail shot one over 217 and tied with Cal State Fullerton’s Corey Gard and Eric Sugimoto of Pacific to force a playoff.
Despite overcoming an eight-stroke deficit to get into a playoff, Silvernail was eliminated after the first round of the playoff, losing the individual medal to Sugimoto, who won the contest after two holes. Silvernail’s final round score was tied for the lowest of any player in the tournament.
“That was extraordinary for us to watch,” Ley said. “He hadn’t done that before all year, so it was kind of good for him to perform well at the end of the year.”
Coming into Monday, the Gauchos were tied for ninth place and managed to shoot 292 on the day to put them in striking distance going into the third round.
Top performer for UCSB in the second round was junior Glen Scher, who shot a 2-under par 70, moving him within the top 10 in the individual leader-board. Scher finished the tournament in a three-way tie for eighth place by shooting 5-over par 221, making it the seventh-straight time he has finished in the top 10.
With a score of 305 in the first day of the competition, the Gauchos at that point were tied with UC Irvine for ninth overall and 13 shots off first place, a deficit that would prove to be too much to overcome by the third day of the tournament.
“Our hopes of winning the tournament kind of got really squashed because of our terrible opening round,” Ley said.
Senior Jordan Epstein finished 5-over par and fellow senior Marshall Colby was one shot behind Epstein to conclude the first round. Epstein and Colby ended the tournament in 17th and 41st place, respectively.
Another notable performance by the Gauchos was delivered by sophomore Amol Mahal who placed 36th overall by shooting 17-over par 233.
The tournament marks the final competition for the Gauchos this season as they look to build on what they accomplished this year going forward. With only two seniors on the current roster, the team will rely on its core group of returning players for next season.
“Building on what we did in those last two rounds I think is really going to be one of our goals going into next year,” Ley said.
A version of this article appeared on page 9 of May 2nd’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo Courtesy of Tony Mastres