Golf places fourth, earns trip to Nationals

    The UCSD golf team placed fourth in a field of eight teams at the NCAA Division II Western Regionals, held May 3 through May 5at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club, in Bellingham, Wash.

    The Tritons’ performance at regionals was good enough to earn them an at-large bid to compete in the NCAA Division II finals taking place at the Victoria Hills Country Club in DeLand, Fla., from May 12 through May 15.

    The Tritons were in second place through the second day of competition, shooting 284 and 291 on the par-288 course overall. On May 5, however, they encountered difficulty, closing out the tournament with a 297. Their overall tournament score was an 8-over-par 872, slipping two places to finish in fourth, behind Chico State, St. Martin’s College and Cal State Stanislaus.

    “The most impressive thing about the guys’ performance was not how well they did, but that they only did it with four guys scoring, since our fifth man didn’t score once,” UCSD head coach Mike Wydra said. “If one of them had had a bad day, we would have been out of the tournament.”

    Chico State, which got off to a slow start on May 3, came back on May 4 and May 5 to solidify its lead, shooting rounds of 287, 281 and 287. The Wildcats came away with a team total of 855 and their rounds on May 4 and May 5 were the low rounds of the day, with 281 being the low round of the tournament.

    St. Martin’s, which was tied with Cal State Stanislaus for third place behind UCSD after May 4, was able to edge out both teams on May 5, earning a 294 to end up with an 868, good enough for second place.

    Cal State Stanislaus came out on May 5 and shot a 294 to finish with an 871, one ahead of UCSD, giving the team a third place finish.

    Individually, two Tritons tied for the lead for UCSD, junior Joe Dolby and senior team captain Alan Scheer. Dolby opened up the tournament with a 68 on May 3, the low round of the day on the par-72 course, and tied for the lowest round of the competition. He came back on May 4 with a 73 and finished with a 75 on May 5, to give him an even-par 216 overall and a tie for eighth place. Dolby had an eagle on the first hole on May 5. It was UCSD’s lone eagle, but Dolby was burdened by a double bogey on the 17th hole.

    “This was the first week in my career that I contended for the lead throughout the tournament,” Dolby said. “It was a great experience to play in the final group with a fantastic player like J.J. Jakovac from Chico [State]. He has the talent to make it on the PGA Tour, so it was fun to compare my game to his. I just wish I had played the last two holes better so we could have beaten [Cal State] Stanislaus.”

    Scheer also finished in a tie for eighth place, with a 216. He began with a 70 on May 3, and came back on May 4 with a 72. On May 5, he turned in a 74, only managing one birdie, instead of the three he had in each of the first two rounds. Scheer managed to play all three rounds without a double bogey.

    Junior Brian Duckworth came in third for the Tritons, tying for 10th place overall with a score of 217. Duckworth started out on May 3 with a 71 and shot a 73 on May 4. On May 5, he started with a birdie on the first hole, and sunk three more birdies, but a double bogey on the seventh hole got him, and he finished with another 73, one behind teammates Dolby and Scheer.

    Taking the fourth spot for UCSD was sophomore Ryo Yamada. His score of 223 was good enough to net him a tie for 23rd place overall. Yamada continued with a 75 on May 3, dropped down to a 73 on May 4, and ended things with another 75 on May 5. He avoided a double bogey on May 5, while netting two birdies.

    Rounding out the squad for UCSD was freshman Nick Jones, who finished with a 238. Jones shot an 80 on May 3, and came back with two rounds of 79 for May 4 and May 5. He snagged two birdies on May 5.

    The Tritons previously placed second at this golf course last fall.

    “The course was a little more difficult than when we played it in the fall, partly caused by a steady rain for the first two days,” Wydra said. “It’s a wonderful course though, and you’re not always using your driver off every tee. It was in better shape than when we played it before, but the rain made it a little longer, and of course, there was the pressure that came with the competition.”

    The Tritons’ performance at regionals was good enough to earn them an at-large bid to compete in the NCAA Division II finals taking place at the Victoria Hills Country Club in DeLand, Fla., from May 12 through May 15.

    “No one is allowed to play the course for the entire season, except the host school, Rollins College, and no one can step on the property until May 3 at 10 a.m.,” Wydra said. “Golf magazine rated it in the top 10 of public courses in Florida though, and we saw some pictures of it on the Internet. It looks very nice.”

    UCSD’s division at regionals, the Division II West, was host to three teams receiving at-large bids, a tie for the most bids given to any division, showing the strong competition of the West. This will be UCSD’s first trip to nationals since its move to Division II. The Tritons will be joined by 17 other teams, as well as 12 individual players.

    “It’s awesome that we made nationals,” Dolby said. “It’s been our goal to qualify ever since we made the jump to Division II four years ago, and to finally do it feels great. It was also great to play well from start to finish in the tournament.”

    The Tritons will play four rounds, which can be followed via live scoring on http://www.golfstat.com.

    Sophomore Justin Grant, who was suffering from a case of vertigo during regionals, has rejoined the team and will compete at Nationals in place of Jones.

    “The guys are a pretty loose group, and I think we’re going to do really well,” Wydra said.

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