The UCSB men’s golf team started off the season in style, heading to Honolulu, Hawaii to compete in the John Burns Intercollegiate tournament. In the exceptionally tough field of 21 teams, the Gauchos ended up finishing a respectable 11th place. Led by freshman Tyler Weir’s team low five-under-par 211, Santa Barbara shot a team score of 849 – only two shots out of eighth place.
“I know we have the talent it takes to shoot a lot lower,” Weir said. “I felt we could have done a lot better.”
UCSB’s five-man squad played a very consistent tournament, with no player shooting over a score of 223. In fact, the top three Gauchos in the tournament were separated by a mere one stroke. Both junior Tony Verna and sophomore Brian Hollenbeck shot solidly, netting scores of 212 each.
“Going into the tournament, we had no idea how it was going to go,” Hollenbeck said. “Every guy out there has the potential to play really well, and we have the potential to win.”
The tournament proved to be a showcase for the Auburn Tigers, who won handily with a score of 820. The Tigers blew out the rest of the competition, with Texas A&M coming in a distant second at 831. Cal-Berkeley’s Stephen Hale was the overall individual top finisher, carding a score of 15-under 201 over the course of the three days.
Despite the gorgeous Hawaii weather, the weekend was far from all fun and games on the island sands for the Gauchos.
“It’s not like we could just hang out at the beach all day, we had to do our jobs. We were up at 5:30 and we didn’t get back till 5 at night,” Hollenbeck said.
Their hard work paid off, and now Santa Barbara will go into the season confident they can hang with even the toughest teams. The next chance for this UCSB squad to prove itself will come March 3-4 at the UC Riverside Braveheart Classic.