Last week, the UC San Diego men’s golf team took part in the St. Mark Invitational Tournament for their fifth and final outing of the season. The UCSD Tritons won the tournament, emerging in first place out of the three-team field that also included California State University, Northridge and UC Riverside. This was UCSD’s first win of the season and their first-ever NCAA Division I tournament championship.
UCSD held onto first place throughout all three rounds of the 54-hole tournament. After the first day of play, the Tritons had scored 565–275 in round one and 290 in round two — which was good enough for three under par. Senior Ryan Vaughan and freshman Jerry Wu hit below 70 in the first round, scoring 66 and 67, respectively. After the tournament, head coach Fred Hanover said, “We got off to a tremendous start. We had our best score in the first round of this tournament and by far the best score of the season.” In the second round, the Triton’s performance dipped, with every player hitting in the 70s. Despite the lapse, UCSD was still able to hold onto first place.
The slow play in the second round seems to have rolled over into round three, but UCSD was able to return to form and hold onto the win. Hanover acknowledged the team’s day two struggles but praised their ability to bounce back, saying, “We got off to a terrible start [in the third round]. All year we’ve talked about overcoming adversity and showing character when things go bad, and I was so proud when they held it together on the back nine … [they] showed a lot of perseverance and played very well down the stretch.” The Tritons ended the tournament with a score of 857, five under par.
Senior Ryan Vaughan and junior Jared Gross tied for second place, with scores of 211. Hanover was effusive with his praise for Vaughan and Gross, saying “They played spectacularly well, especially in the first round. They overcame some adversity in the next two rounds and hung in there. They both played very well on the back nine [on day two].” The second-place finish was the best tournament performance of both Vaughan’s and Gross’ careers. Fellow freshmen Jerry Wu and Davis Lee also found themselves at the top of the rankings, as the two tied for fourth place, with scores of 213 each.
The St. Mark Invitational marked the end of the UCSD men’s golf season. The team hopes to take their late-season success and roll it over to next year. As Hanover put it, “[The team] and I are very excited to have our first Division I tournament win. Hopefully, it is the first of many.”
Photo courtesy of Scott Flanders / UC San Diego Athletics