Two weeks removed from a second-place finish in its last invitational, the UCSB golf team was able to secure a first-place finish out of the 12 competing teams at the PRO Compression Invite on Tuesday for its second tournament title this season.

Santa Barbara won the tournament at The Farms Golf Club in Rancho Santa Fe by finishing 12 under par 852, a whole nine shots better than second place Wichita State who carded 3-under par 861. These two squads were the only ones that were able to finish under par once the tournament had come to a close.

The tournament victory marked the Gauchos’ first since carding an amazing 31 under par 833, tying the course record, in the fall at the Bill Cullum Invitational.

UCSB was led by junior Zach Smith and freshman Brett Bennett, who both were the highest ranking individual Gauchos, finishing tied for third after both carding 6-under par 210.

Although he had another solid tournament, Smith again had the chance to have the highest individual score at the tournament after entering the final round 10 under par. Unfortunately, the junior shot a four over par over the final 18 holes to finished tied for third as Wichita State’s Yannick Emmert took the first spot. Despite a tough ending, there is no doubt Smith will be ready to continue battling as the season goes out.

Fellow junior Willy Moffly rounded out the top-five golfers throughout the invite as he earned the fifth spot after finishing four under par 212. Junior Brandon Bauman also gave a solid effort finishing the day tied for 15th after carding four over par 220.

Three other Big West teams also took the green in this tournament but none were able to finish under par 864. Cal Poly and UC Irvine finished in third and fourth place after carding 11 over 875 par and 18 over 882 par, respectively, while UC Riverside struggled throughout the whole course finishing in 11th place after finishing 70 over par 934.

There is no doubt that taking first place at one of the hardest courses they will face this season will give a great boost to an already surging Gaucho team.

UCSB will be back in action at 8 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 27, at the Del Walker Intercollegiate Invite in Long Beach, California.

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