Gaucho golfers get off to respectable start

MONTEREY, Calif. – Junior Matt Grush shot a 2-under par 211 to finish in a tie for third, leading UC Santa Barbara to a third-place team finish at the Saint Mary’s Invitational held at the Poppy Hills Golf Course in Monterey, Calif. The tournament was the season-opener for the Gauchos.

After opening the tournament with a first round score of 294, the Gauchos got better each round. In the second, they shot 288 and were in sixth-place entering the third round. In the final 18, Santa Barbara shot 279 to move three schools and into third-place.

Grush’s performance was not only outstanding, it was consistent. The Los Angeles native shot 70 and 71 respectively in Monday’s first and second rounds, and then he capped off his performance when he carded a 70 in the third round on Tuesday.

Sophomore Scott Lewis was also solid for UCSB. He entered the final round with a 5-over par 147, but he shot a 3-under 68 on Tuesday to finish at 215, 2-over par, good for an 11th-place tie. Another sophomore, Tyler Weir, shot a 2-under par 69 in the final round to complete his tournament at 5-over par 218, tied for 23rd-place.

The other two Gauchos were junior Brian Hollenbeck, an All-Big West choice in 2007-08, and Tony Verna, the only senior on the roster. Hollenbeck finished at 6-over par 219, tied for 30th, while Verna struggled to a 21-over par 234, tying for 81st-place.

The University of San Francisco won the tournament with an 855, five shots better than Wisconsin and six better than UCSB. Fellow-Big West programs UC Irvine and Cal State Northride finished fourth and fifth, respectively, at 864 and 867. The individual winner was USF’s Domingo Jojola who shot 6-under par 207. UC Irvine’s Bryan Harris shot a 5-under par 208 to finish second. Joining Grush at 2-under par in third-place were USF’s Chris Cunningham and Wisconsin’s Jordan Elsen.

UCSB returns to the course on Saturday, Oct. 5, when it travels to Palm Desert, Calif., to take part in the University of Wyoming’s Desert Intercollegiate. The tourney will be played at The Classic Club in Palm Desert. The first two rounds will be played on Oct. 5 with the final round set for Sunday, Oct. 6.