Golf Team Finishes Sixth at Conference Championships

    GOLF — The Tritons put together a sixth-place finish at the
    two-day California Collegiate Athletic Association championships in Paso Robles
    on April 21 and 22 with their three-round score of 891, 33 shots behind the
    champions, Sonoma State University. UCSD couldn’t recover after a first-round
    300 landed the team in sixth place, but improved scores of 293 and 298 in the
    latter rounds helped end the season on a high note. With no seniors on the
    roster, UCSD has had plenty of time to grow as a team, a trait that makes it
    dangerous going into next season.

    “Our team definitely experienced some growing pains this
    season,” 29th-year coach Mike Wydra said. “But in the long run it will only
    make our team better. I’ve seen how hard this team has worked, and it will pay
    off. This program hasn’t been to the NCAA Championships since 2004, but I know
    this team is getting closer and closer to making a return trip there real
    soon.”

    Wydra has become a legend during his tenure with the
    Tritons. He’s still searching for that elusive championship after finishing
    runner-up in the national championship five times during his career.

    Individually, the tournament was won by Eric Justesen of Cal
    State Stanislaus, who ran away from the competition with a 14-under par 202 to
    earn individual medalist honors. A first round score of 70 put Justesen in a
    three-way tie for first, but after that, he left no doubt, notching rounds of
    65 and 67 to distance himself from the second-place finisher, the Seawolves’
    Jarin Todd, who was eight shots behind. Sonoma State was the only school to
    have three golfers finish in the top 10, with Todd, Kyle Hopkins in seventh and
    Chris Galvin, tied at ninth, leading the way.

    UCSD’s top finisher was junior Nathan Phan, who finished a
    solid season with a tie for ninth place. His overall score of 218 was two shots
    better than junior Ryan Bailey, who finished in 14th place. Phan’s first round
    of 70 put him in good shape to contend for the title, but a second round of 74
    ended those dreams as he entered the final round nine shots behind the lead. A
    final round of 74 ended Phan’s tournament with a cumulative two over par.

    “Anytime you don’t win, it’s disappointing, and that‘s the
    way I look at these tournaments,” Phan said. “My goal is to be the best golfer
    at the end of the day, and I showed I could contend after my first round. I
    just wish I could have been more consistent and put my team in a better
    position in rounds two and three. I hope that I can put a better performance
    together in the Super Regional, where our season is really on the line.”

    Freshman Keith Okasaki finished his first year as a Triton
    by finishing in 15th place, just behind Bailey with a score of 221. A great
    second round of 70 was sandwiched between rounds of 76 and 75 to put him at
    five over par. Sophomore Austin Alfonso and junior Billy Olsen finished near
    the bottom of the individual leaderboard after struggling early. Alfonso shot a
    first round 84, which put him in a tie for last, but he recovered slightly and
    finished in a tie for 30th out of 35 golfers. Olsen shot a first round 82, then
    followed up with rounds of 76 and 77 to finish in 34th place with a cumulative
    score of 235.

    The Tritons’ season will be on the line in the Division-II
    Super Regional Championship, which starts on May 5. The three-day tournament’s
    location is yet to be announced. Last year, the Tritons finished in sixth place
    at the eight-team event in Colorado.
    In order to make the NCAA Championships, UCSD will need to do better than that
    this year. Phan narrowly missed out on qualifying for the championships as an
    individual last year, and could contend for a spot this year.

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