Golf Places Eighth at Chico Invite

    The Tritons participated under the direction of new head coach Jim Ragan

    The UCSD men’s golf team finished in eighth place at the Wildcat Classic Tournament season opener this Monday, Oct. 7, in Corning, Calif., with sophomore Clayton Yamaguchi leading the way for the Tritons.

    The 15-team tournament included host school and tournament champion Chico State, which shot a 5 under 571, the only school that finished below par.

    Chico State senior Ricky Owaki led the Wildcats, winning the individual title with a seven under par, three strokes ahead of Cal State Stanislaus’ Anthony Manguray. The defending champions Cal State Stanislaus finished second, coming eight strokes behind the Wildcats.

    Other notable conference opponents included Cal State East Bay and Cal State San Bernardino, which finished third and 11th, respectively.

    The Tritons were in eighth place at the end of day one, hitting 31 over par for a total score of 607 on the par-72, 6,917-yard course. Yamaguchi, UCSD’s top finisher, tied for seventh place out of a field of 81. After a 5-over 77 in the first round, Yamaguchi bounced back to hit a respectable 5 under 67 in the second round, hitting a birdie on the fifteenth hole and missing the tournament record by only one stroke.

    “My eagle on [the 15th hole] was probably the highlight of the tournament for me,” Yamaguchi said. “I hit a great drive down the middle of the fairway and had 224 yards left … I hit a great hybrid onto the green about 25 feet away from the hole. At that point in the round, my putting had really clicked in and I was confident.”

    Fellow Tritons who also competed include sophomore Daniel Yang finishing 34th overall, senior Jacob Williams placing 40th, senior Lewis Simon, who tied for 57th and junior Jay Lim, who ended up 62nd.

    Making his Triton debut was first year head coach Jim Ragan, who had arrived to the La Jolla campus only a week ago.

    “I really enjoyed seeing our guys compete today for the first time,” Ragan — former head coach at the University of Oklahoma, the University of Texas and Vanderbilt University — said to the UCSD Athletics Department. “We had a couple of bright spots, including Clayton’s 67 in the second round and Jacob (Williams) shooting a 29 on the front nine in round one. On the other hand, we lost a lot of shots out there and hopefully we can settle down to post a strong team score tomorrow.”

    Yamaguchi said that even though the team has had only limited time with its new coach, Ragan was still able to prepare the players mentally for the tournament.

    “Coach hasn’t really prepared us for a tournament as he normally would given the situation,” Yamaguchi said. “He has mostly prepared us by creating a clear mindset for us. This mindset helps us to develop clarity and allows us to really just go out there and play our best.”

    Extremely windy conditions forced the tournament to end early, preventing the Tritons from completing the second half of the tournament. The team ended up tying for eighth with Northwest Nazarene University.

    “It’s disappointing that the final round was cancelled, because I believed that my team and I could have used it to move up the leaderboard,” Yamaguchi said. “But the winds were pretty gusty, and the course was not set up correctly for the conditions. Once the winds started blowing balls off the greens, the course really became unfair and unplayable.”

    The team looks to rebound next week as it travels to Santa Rosa Golf and Country Club for the Sonoma State Invitational  which will be held on Oct. 14 and Oct. 15.

    “I think this past week was a good time for preparations for next week’s tournament,” Yamaguchi said. “All of us have our own individual things to work on in order to improve for next week, and with Coach helping to provide clarity for us, we expect to play much better.”

     

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