Troubled Return to the Green

    MEN’S GOLF — The Tritons opened their 2010 season on Feb. 2 with a third-place finish at the San Diego Intercollegiate. The team shot a two-round total of 629, finishing 38 strokes behind winner Univeristy of San Diego and host Point Loma Nazarene.

    UCSD finished ten strokes ahead of San Diego State’s B squad, and 28 strokes in front of Cal State San Marcos.

    Although USD is ranked an impressive No. 42 in Division-I — according to Golfweek — Triton senior captain Keith Okasaki said that fact doesn’t excuse his team’s disappointing performance.

    “We really just didn’t play that well,” he said. “It had been a long time since we played in a team format and had a rough tournament. I just tell the guys to keep their heads up, and don’t worry about it.”

    Senior Raj Samra led the Tritons with rounds of 78-76 for a 10-over-par 154, and a ninth-place finish overall.

    Freshman Anubhav Rastogi came in three strokes behind Samra in his first tournament as a Triton. The frehsman matched Samra’s low score in the first round for UCSD.

    Okasaki finished in a tie for 16th after a pair of 80s. UCSD’s No. 1 golfer said he had expected more of himself, and was hoping to start the spring season strong after finishes of T-8 and T-26 closed out the fall schedule.

    In the first tournament of the new year, the rust from the long layoff was apparent to Okasaki, who admitted to having some trouble with his iron-play. Despite practicing throughout the winter break in his hometown, he said his swing and rhythm just weren’t there during the San Diego tournament.

    “I’m very disappointed with how I performed,” Okasaki said. “I have been struggling lately with a couple of shots that I rely on. It’s my irons and a little knock down that controls the trajectory and distance.”

    Without his usual control, Okasaki said he had trouble consistently finding greens to give himself an opportunity to go lower.

    Senior Richard Morris and sophomore Justin Gabbert had their own troubles firing their highest scores this season. However, Okasaki said he is optimisitc the team’s performance will improve after a good week of practice.

    “We had a practice round that went well on Wednesday and a productive practice Friday,” he said. “If we can start playing better individually, we will play better as a team. One guy playing well can motivate the rest of team to play better.”

    Next up for UCSD is the Cal State San Marcos Invitational on Feb. 8 and Feb. 9. Last season, the Tritons finished in eighth place at the competiton.

    And at 6,750 yards, there is an excellent opportunity for the team to go low, Okasaki said.

    “[It is realistic that] we can shoot around par on this course,” he said. “In our practice round there last week, I shot 67, so it’s definitely doable. Weather permitting, the course isn’t too difficult, but the recent rain will make it tougher, as the course doesn’t drain well and will play sloppy.”

    Readers can contact Matt Croskey at [email protected].

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