Tritons place fifth at Family Motors Invitational, set record

    The UCSD men’s golf team finished fifth in a field of 17 teams in the Family Motors Invitational on Feb. 23 and Feb. 24 at Seven Oaks Country Club in Bakersfield, Calif.

    In the second round on Feb. 23, UCSD put together a team total of 275, not only the lowest score in head coach Mike Wydra’s tenure as a coach, but the lowest team score in the Triton’s history. In their impressive showing, the Tritons fell just one stroke short of a tournament record.

    “Thirteen under par would hold up against most Division I teams,” Wydra said. “We scored a 276 in fall in the Western Washington Invitational, which was nice to let everyone know that we’re capable of such things, but we got everyone’s attention again with this 275. We’re really establishing ourselves as a team you’d like to have in the national championships.”

    Though the Tritons struggled a bit in the first round on Feb. 23, shooting a team score of 296, they more than made up for it in the next round.

    “Seven Oaks is a composite course,” Wydra said. “They added nine new holes to an existing course, so many of the holes have a different look and playability, and even different designers. However, for the most part, it is not an overly difficult course, even though it is fun to play on a course where you can do very well and produce some low scores.”

    Team scores for a round are based on a team’s four best scores, which result in the dropping of the fifth player’s score. During their 275 round, UCSD dropped a score of 71, or one under par.

    “When you shoot a score like 275, everyone wonders what the score you dropped was. It has been one of my goals as a coach to drop a score of par, but this round we actually managed to drop a score below par,” Wydra said.

    The Tritons put together a 293 for their final round on Feb. 24, giving them an even-par grand total of 864 for the tournament.

    “We might have moved into third place if we had had a better fourth score on Tuesday, but third in relation to Division II teams is fine,” Wydra said. “It’s also nice to beat teams ranked ahead of you, like [CSU] Stanislaus.”

    Only two Division II teams beat UCSD: Cal State Bakersfield, which shot rounds of 280, 279 and 282, totaling of 841, 23 under par; and Chico State, whose round scores were 286, 285 and 280, to give it 851, 13 over par.

    Individually, junior Brian Duckworth led the Tritons in style, finishing in first place and shooting rounds of 74, 68 and 65, for a total of 207, nine under par.

    “I actually started off playing below average,” Duckworth said. “Somewhere in the middle of the second round though, the flood gates opened, and birdies just started pouring out. I was 20 strokes better in the second half than in the first. My performance was due in large part to incredible coaching from Coach Wydra.”

    Senior team captain Alan Scheer came in second for UCSD and tied for 18th in the tournament, putting together round totals of 73, 68 and 74 for a final score of 215, one under par.

    “First off, congratulations to Brian, he played great today. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t help him out more in the final round, but we still beat some great teams,” Scheer said. “Our second round was really eye-opening, and gives us the respect we need to make it to the nationals.”

    Sophomore Justin Grant placed third for the Tritons and tied for 34th in the invitational with rounds of 74, 70 and 75, giving him 219 overall, three over par.

    “We’re playing really well right now,” Grant said. “I had a lot of birdie opportunities in the first 36 holes and sunk seven, but I should’ve made more. Unfortunately, I started [Feb. 24] with a triple bogey.”

    Fourth for the Tritons was fellow sophomore Robbie Kramer, whose rounds of 76, 69 and 79 gave him a total of 224, eight over par. He tied for 53rd in the invitational.

    “This year our team has made a huge leap from last year,” Kramer said. “Before, we were always trying to break 300, but now we just finished 13 under par on Tuesday, and we’re just a lot more consistent. We’re almost always in the 60s and low 70s. For myself, I played well in the first two rounds, but I struggled off the tee and in the bunkers.”

    Junior Joe Dolby rounded up the squad for UCSD, tying for 57th in the tournament with rounds of 75, 71 and 79, giving him a score of 225, nine over par.

    “It’s great to have Brian playing so well right now, it’s like playing with a celebrity,” Dolby said. “I was not very happy with my final round, I putted very poorly, but I hope I can play better next time to contribute in my role as one of ‘the big three’ on the team.”

    UCSD is back on the links on Feb. 28 and Feb. 29 when it plays in the Aztec Invitational at Lake San Marcos Country Club in San Marcos, Calif.

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