After a season that saw flashes of potential from the Gaucho golf team, the Big West Tournament proved to be a disappointing affair. Coming in, UCSB was hoping to steal a victory at Tijeras Creek Golf Club in Rancho Santa Margarita and secure a birth into the regional playoffs. However, two lackluster days of golf resulted in a fifth-place finish out of eight teams.
UCSB tallied a total score of 885, 21 strokes over par, putting it just about in the middle of the pack, where it has resided for most of the season. UC Irvine edged out UC Davis for the championship, shooting 849 to the Aggies’ 855. The Anteaters top three finishers were also the top three finishers in the entire tournament, but their last-place finisher was worst in the tournament. The Gauchos came with a more consistent attack, with all five players scoring within 12 strokes of each other.
Unsurprisingly, sophomore Brian Hollenbeck was atop the Gaucho leader board, where he has been all season. However, freshman Tyler Weir had a solid tournament himself, tying Hollenbeck’s overall score. Both Hollenbeck and Weir carded 218s on the tournament, best on the Gauchos but only tenth place overall.
Rounding out the Gaucho performance was junior Tony Verna with a 224, freshman Michael Casca with a 227, and sophomore Matt Grush with 230. Weir shot the best individual round of any Gaucho, scoring a 70 in round two on Monday.
UC Irvine’s John Chin scored the best individually in the tournament, carding a 207 over three rounds. Northridge’s Nick Delio had the best round of any competitor, shooting 65 on Tuesday’s round three.
While UCSB’s season may be over, these Gauchos are far from done. With only two seniors on the entire roster, and none of them competing at the Big West Tournament, this UCSB squad has proven its potential for years to come. Four out of the five Gauchos playing were freshmen or sophomores, which bodes very well for the future. The same people that carried the team this year will be carrying it next year.