The UCSB golf team finished up their fall season with a mediocre showing, finishing 9th out of 14 teams at the Stockton Sports Commission Pacific Invitational. The Gauchos finished with a three-round total of 854, 10-under par.
None of the Gaucho golfers swung the club well all week. Three Gauchos, redshirt sophomore Brian Hollenbeck, freshman Tyler Weir and redshirt junior Tony Verna, all led the team with three-round totals of 213, 3-under par.
“It was very disappointing. The golf course was pretty defenseless; without wind, it was perfect out,” Hollenbeck said. “It was for the taking, but we just didn’t take it like some other teams did.”
The University of North Carolina, Charlotte came in first overall with a team total of 824, forty-under par. Their leader, Stefan Wiedergruen, had the lowest individual score at 17-under par, seven lower than the entire Gaucho squad. Charlotte used a final round team total of 271 to pull away from Kansas State for the win.
The Gauchos played four tournaments this quarter, starting the season off great with a win and strong performances from their two young freshmen, but they soon tailed off. They remain optimistic about the rest of the year, however.
“We definitely have a lot of room for improvement, and that includes myself,” redshirt sophomore Matt Grush said.
With such a young group of players, the Gauchos have reason to believe that the rest of the season will be better. The long-term goal for the team for the season is to make the playoffs. While the poor showings of the past few tournaments certainly hurts its chances, UCSB still has several tournaments to move up in the standings. The squad has to finish in the top 70 teams in the country to make the playoffs. With a long break ahead of them before their next tournament, the Gauchos intend to make the most of it.
“I am going to spend a lot of time on the range and on the course practicing to hone my game”, Grush said.
Luckily, Santa Barbara has a lot to look forward to. Their next tournament is in Honolulu, Hawaii on Feb. 20. The top five players will enjoy three rounds of golf and a few days of fun on the beaches. The Gauchos should use their familiarity with such an environment to succeed come February.