Sometimes too much confidence can be a dangerous thing.
Teeing off in the John Burns Invitational yesterday, the UCSB golf team finished in a three-team tie for 11th place. The team shot a 1-over-par 289 for a rough first round result. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas bested the competition with an 11-under-par 277 followed by Brigham Young University’s 279 score.
“It’s a three-month layoff so I cannot expect them to play well in the first round with all the jitters of coming back,” Head Coach Steve Lass said. “The best players have bad days, but the best refocus, learn from their mistakes and stay positive and that is hopefully what we will do. We had a great fall season and we didn’t have to rely on one player for everything. That takes a lot of pressure off one’s teammates and gives us a lot of confidence continuing in this tournament.”
The highlight for the Gauchos was redshirt freshman Brian Hollenbeck, who shot a 71 and tied for 22nd place. His score should give him something to be pleased with, since he is currently tied with co-champion Brandon DeStefano from Southern Methodist University.
“Brian is very consistent and accurate, but physically he is not as strong as some of these other college guys who are already 22 or 23 years old,” Lass said. “He works very hard and with some strength; he’ll be an exceptional player.”
Sophomore Tony Verna and junior Marty Melcher tied for 49th place after both shot a 73 while the only senior on the team, Joe Ryon, finished tied for 35th place with a score of 72.
“[Ryon] has been a very good performer and he brings a calmness to the team which can settle the guys down,” Lass said. “Having him on the team is like having another coach.”
Looking ahead to the next two rounds, the conditions at the Leilehua Golf Course have been far from favorable as the tournament carried on amid five straight hours of rain.
“There’s been a lot of rain. Being a Southern California school, it’s a little tougher playing in inclement weather,” Lass said. “But it’s a normal aspect of college golf, so most of the guys are used to it.”
The Invitational continues tomorrow at 8 a.m. with the second round and concludes Friday.