A difficult course mixed with sub-par performances ruined the UCSB men’s golf team’s parade this week at the rain-shortened Western Intercollegiate Golf Tournament.
The Gauchos tied with Colorado State and Oregon State for a 12th place finish, shooting a collective 601. Santa Barbara finished 19 shots behind University of Oregon who took first place honors with a 582.
“The tournament had a really good field of team – our second best field during the year – so we know that if we play a good tournament and place highly, then it would be great for us but we didn’t do that. We really knew this was our chance to do something good and we didn’t perform,” sophomore Joe Ryon said.
Junior Greg Wells paced the Gauchos with a team-high nine-over-par to finish in a tie for 28th place. Wells shot 76 the first day and 73 in the rain-abbreviated second round. Freshman Darren Schwartz tagged on Wells’ heels to shoot a 10-over-par 150.
“It was a little bit disappointing. We felt we could have done better,” Wells said. “I think we can compete with any team out there. It was nice to be in a nice field like that, but we didn’t play well.”
Ryon, freshman Marty Melcher and sophomore Sean Meier also finished for the Gauchos. Melcher started out strong for Santa Barbara, shooting a team-high 72 in the first round, only to drop to 80. In the second round he ended at 152. Melcher and Ryon tied for 51st place overall in the tournament. Meier finished in 90th place with a 165.
“We were pretty disappointed in our finish in that kind of field – it’s not bad, but it’s not what we’re looking for,” Ryon said. “It was a tournament with very good teams, and if we knew that if we finished well, then we could move up in the rankings and establish ourselves as a strong team, but we were unsuccessful.”
Heavy rain canceled Tuesday’s final round of action. The swingers shot two rounds of 36 on Monday with wind and the sprinkling of rain, which affected the shots on the links.
“It was hard in every way – it was cold and windy. The conditions were just tough so if your game wasn’t on, then any weaknesses in your game were magnified – bad rounds turned into horrible rounds,” Wells said.
The Pasatiempo course, nestled in the mountains in Santa Cruz, proved exceedingly difficult for UCSB. A par of 70 and yardage of 6445, coupled with wind and light rain, demanded high levels of concentration for the golfers.
“On every shot you had you had to focus your whole attention on it and if you lost that for even a second, then you would mess up pretty badly. You needed almost a perfect shot every time and most courses aren’t like that,” Ryon said. “We’re a really young team and we’ve never experienced that kind of course and competition before and that’s part of the reason why we didn’t perform.”
It’s Santa Barbara’s turn to host when the Gauchos return to action Monday at La Purisima Golf Course in Lompoc for the BITE/Pacific Coast Intercollegiate Tournament.