Golf wins first tournament

The UCSD men’s golf team placed ninth in the UC Davis Aggie Invitational on April 1 and April 2 after coming off its first victory of the year at the California Lutheran Invitational on March 26.

The Tritons edged the University of Redlands by one stoke and took first place in a field of 15 at the tournament. As a team, UCSD shot the lowest score in two of the three rounds of the tournament.

Playing in unfavorable conditions at the La Purisima Golf Course in Lompoc, Calif., the Tritons opened with a combined score of 317 in the first round, which put UCSD in a tie for the lead.

After shooting 309 in the second round, the Tritons were two strokes behind Redlands going into the second day of the tournament. Sophomore Galen Farris sank a 15-foot putt on the 18th hole in the final round to give UCSD another score of 309 and a one-stroke victory.

Claremont McKenna rounded out the top three positions, finishing with 957, 22 strokes behind the Tritons. Mary Hardin-Baylor took fourth and California Lutheran University ended in fifth place with combined scores of 961 and 970, respectively.

Individually, junior Ryan Gale was the tournament leader and shot scores of 77, 71 and 75 on the par-72 course. Gale was eight scores ahead of Redlands’ Jordan Bailer, who finished second.

“”Gale has played some terrific golf,”” said UCSD golf coach Mike Wydra. “”An eight-shot victory is a great win at any level of play.””

The Tritons had two other golfers finish in the top 10. Sophomore Brian Duckworth took sixth place, shooting 78 in each of the three rounds for a combined score of 234. In addition to Duckworth, sophomore Greg Wilson finished in a tie for eighth place along with Joe Skovron of La Verne. Wilson and Skovron each had combined scores of 237.

UCSD sophomore Andy Thomson finished 27th, sophomore Blake Schneider took 44th and Farris ended in 51st.

Windy conditions made the La Purisima course difficult. During the players’ practice round, wind blew at up to 40 mph, and it continued to blow strongly during the two days of the tournament.

The wind was the reason for an average individual score of 10-over-par 84 during the invitational, and the course yielded only two sub-par rounds over the two days.

The Aggie Invitational was a different story for UCSD, however. Playing at El Macero Country Club, UC Davis’ home course, host UC Davis took first place and finished far ahead of a large pack of golf teams. The Aggies shot the lowest score of each round, and Davis’ combined score of 834 was 29 strokes better than that of Cal State Stanislaus, which finished in second place.

The Tritons finished in ninth place out of the 17 teams that participated. With solid opening rounds by Gale and Duckworth, UCSD shot a 292 and stood in third position after the first round. However, fatigue set in after the early round on the first day of the tournament, and the Tritons finished shooting scores of 301 and 307 to end with a total score of 900.

Davis’ Scott Gordon, Eric Restrepo and Will Johnson took first, second and third respectively. Gale was two over par for the tournament and finished 12th, while Duckworth ended in 29th after shooting 70, 77 and 77.

Wydra remained upbeat about his team’s chances in the upcoming championships.

“”We have been able to beat the teams that we have needed to beat this season,”” he said. “”We need to beat more of the top teams in these last few tournaments. There are several teams that are very strong in the West.””