Not much can compare to playing a few rounds of golf in paradise.

After its best fall season to date, the UCSB men’s golf team heads to Hawaii this week for the John Burns Invitational. The Gauchos’ highly improved performance last year came in the form of top-three finishes in the Santa Clara Invitational, the Bill Cullum Invitational and the Pacific Invitational.

Of these three tournaments, the Gauchos’ highlight was a two-shot victory over UCLA at Santa Clara’s Silver Creek Valley Country Club. Senior Joe Ryon and redshirt freshman Brian Hollenbeck not only tied for fourth-place at 215, but each also shot a 68 in the final round, which tied for the lowest third-round score in the competition. Every swing counted in the end as the Gauchos’ 873 overall total crowned them champions of the Santa Clara Invitational and UCSB’s third-round score of 279 was the lowest amongst its opponents.

More recently during November’s Pacific Invitational at the Brookside Country Club in Stockton, UC Santa Barbara shot 12-under-par 852 and placed itself into third-place when the final tournament of the early portion of the season had concluded. Junior Ryan Keefe paced the Gauchos with 6-under-par 210 performance, which was good enough for a seventh-place tie. Hollenbeck had another solid outing, shooting 4-under-par 212 to tie for 11th place. As a team, UCSB finished higher than four of its Big West opponents participating in the tournament.

The last time the Gauchos visited the island of Oahu was in 2006 when the team fought for an 18th-place tie with Utah. A junior at the time, Joe Ryon shot 5-under-par 67 in the first round and finished at 3-under-par overall in a tie for 42nd place. Tony Verna, in his first year as a Gaucho, tied for 56th place after shooting a 2-under-par 214. At the end of three days, it was the Southern Methodist University Mustangs who stood atop the rest with a score of 823 as a team. Former co-champions, Mustang senior Brandon DeStefano and Auburn Tigers junior Jay Moseley will each return to defend their mutual title this year.

Santa Barbara will travel to the Leilehua Golf Course in Honolulu tomorrow to begin its three-day competition.