Golfers combine for sixth out of 12 at Chico State

The UCSD golf team placed sixth out of 12 teams competing in the Chico State Wells Fargo Invitational on Oct. 10 and Oct. 11. The Tritons squared off against several of the top teams in the nation, including NCAA Division-I member UCLA, the eventual winners of the event.

Cal State Bakersfield took the lead on the first day of the event, with a total score of 573. UCLA turned in an impressive performance as well, trailing the Roadrunners by only three strokes, with a first-round score of 576.

The Tritons combined for a 600, good enough for seventh place after day one. Senior Justin Grant, who shot a combined score of 149, with rounds of 76 and 73, led the Tritons.

Freshman teammates Billy Olsen and Ryan Bailey were close behind, each with 150. The seventh-place standing left the Tritons awaiting a second chance to move up on the second day of competition.

In the final round on Oct. 11, the Bruins shot the low score of the day with a 290, bringing them from three strokes back to win the 12-team title. UCSD’s second-round score of 294 allowed them to pass Grand Canyon University for sixth place in the competition.

Olsen and senior Ryo Yamada led the way for the Tritons with scores of 73 each. Grant shot a 74 in the final round and Bailey and sophomore Chris Hirahatake added scores of 75 and 78, respectively.

The total score of 294 was the third best of the day and gave the Tritons a three-round score of 895, one point behind fifth-place Notre Dame de Namur and two strokes ahead of seventh-place Grand Canyon University.

The Triton golfers performed consistently throughout the competition with similar final scores at the end. Grant (223), Olsen (223), Yamada (225), Bailey (225) and Hirahatake (236) all finished in the top 30 to propel the Tritons to their sixth-place finish.

“Surprisingly, I was pretty relaxed during the tournament and the other guys helped make it really comfortable for me,” Olsen said. “Of course, I could have saved a few strokes here and there, but overall I was satisfied with how I played.”

Head coach Mike Wydra said he was pleased with the outcome as well.

“The new freshmen are really starting to come out strong,” he said. “It looks like it will be a good season after all.”

The team gets the opportunity to see if the grass really is greener on the other side, of the ocean that is, in the Hawaii Hilo Intercollegiate Tournament on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 in Mauna Lani, Hawaii.