Although they did not hoist the championship trophy up at the end of the day, the UCSB men’s golf team finished fourth in the Big West Tournament on Tuesday after strong first and second round performances.
After finishing dead last in the 2009 Big West Tournament, Santa Barbara set its hopes high in 2010, aiming for a first place finish. Unfortunately, the Gauchos had a rocky start to their season with a disappointing fall campaign. When spring rolled around, the team still could not seem to find its groove.
But with the conference championship on the line, all of the Gauchos stepped up their game.
UCSB junior Andrew Gunson came out firing in the first two rounds. The Scottish sensation shot an even par in both the first and second rounds to finish with a score of 144 strokes, good for fourth place overall.
UCSB senior Brian Hollenbeck and junior Russell Boring also had productive days, coming in at five strokes over par on the first day to help put Santa Barbara in a tie for third place with Long Beach State, just one shot behind second place Pacific.
Day two would not bring the same good fortune for Gunson, as he failed to rediscover his first-round form and shot a 10 over par to close out his season with a 20th-place finish.
Hollenbeck stepped up in his last collegiate tournament, shooting a one over par in the final round to finish in eighth place overall.
“[Eighth place] is nothing to be overly proud of, but it’s nice to finish [my career] on a good note,” Hollenbeck said.
Boring finished with 223 strokes overall, just one stroke behind Hollenbeck to tie for 11th place overall.
Sophomore Tyler Sterk and junior Tyler Weir rounded out the final five with 227 and 240 strokes, respectively.
The Gauchos finished in fourth place with a collective score of 897 strokes, just two behind third-place Long Beach, but 24 behind UC Irvine, the tournament hosts and first-place finishers.
Despite not meeting their goal, the Gauchos are content with their season.
“It was a big improvement after finishing dead last [a season ago],” Hollenbeck said.
With four of their five competitors returning next year, Santa Barbara should by all rights improve going forward, especially considering that freshman Glen Scher showed great potential earlier in the season.