After a solid showing at the Folino Invitational just a few weeks ago, the UCSB golf team will be back in action this week at the Pro Compression Invitational at The Farms Golf Club, which will take place on Monday, Feb. 13, and Tuesday, Feb. 14, both days beginning play at 8 a.m.
The Gauchos will be in action against three other Big West foes in this tournament, as they will take on UC Riverside, UC Irvine and Cal Poly. At the Folino Invitational, Santa Barbara finished in second place out of 10 teams and placed higher than UCI, who finished in third, and UCR, who finished in sixth.
In its last outing, UCSB certainly looked like a really solid team and had many opportunities to defeat Long Beach State and end up getting first in the entire invitational. The squad finished with a final tally of a 10-over par 874 and only a two-point difference in its loss against LBSU, who finished 8-over par 874.
Junior Zach Smith was a key component in the Gauchos’ high finish and will look to continue being a force as an individual golfer as well. At the Folino Invitational, Smith was bested by Long Beach State’s Joe Fryer, putting him in second place; however, the former 2014 Big West Freshman of the Year played a solid outing finishing 2-under par 214.
“Outstanding tournament, a hard course and finishing two under par is outstanding. But he hit a quadruple-bogey on the 12th hole and missed his opportunity to win the individual,” Head Coach Steve Lass said.
At the Farms Golf Club, UCSB will expect to play Smith, freshman Brett Bennett, junior Brandon Bauman, junior Willy Moffly and sophomore Tyler See. Bennett, Bauman and Moffly all finished in the top 10 individually, with Bennett finishing the highest tied for seventh.
Monday’s invitational will be no joke, as the Farms Golf Club located in Rancho Santa Fe is one of the hardest courses to play on. The course begins with easy holes; however, the difficulty definitely varies as players go on. It spans 7211 yards and has a total par of 72.
“This will be the most difficult course we will play in all year,” Lass said. “But it can definitely help us grow, and I think we will play well.”
Notching a second-place finish in its first tournament of the new year was definitely a nice way to start 2017, but Coach Lass knows this team still has its kinks to work out if it wants to take home the Big West championship this year.
“We are one of the top teams in the Big West. On any given day we are as good as anyone and I like our chances, but we do have to minimize our mistakes,” Lass said.
UCSB golf begins the Pro Compression/Folino Invitational at 8 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 13, at the Farms Golf Club.