GLF: Robinson leads Gauchos to OGIO championship

Hunter Robinson and the UC Santa Barbara golf team each accomplished something on Tuesday that hadn’t happened in nearly a quarter of a century as they won the individual and team titles at their own tournament, the OGIO-UCSB Intercollegiate at Sandpiper Golf Course.

A clutch putt for par on the 54th and final hole of the tournament gave Robinson, a senior, his first medalist honors as a Gaucho, besting UC Riverside’s David Gazzolo by one shot. Robinson finished the tournament with a 3-under par 213 while Gazzolo carded a 4-under par in the final round to finish at 2-under par 212.

“He was in the leader group at Fresno State last year, so that might have helped prepare him for this,” said head coach Steve Lass. “This is the first time he’s been in the lead coming down the stretch. I know he was nervous, but he hit some phenomenal shots and made some key putts in the final round. To win the first time you’re in contention is big. This might be the first golf tournament he’s ever won and I am very happy for him.”

Robinson became the first UCSB player since Derek Gilchrist in 1991 to win the OGIO-UCSB Intercollegiate. That was the same year the Gauchos last won the team title.

As a team, UCSB built a comfortable lead midway through the third round and then held on, finishing at 10-over par 874, two shots ahead of Riverside, which began the day four shots off the team lead.

“I thought we did a great job of holding on down the stretch,” Lass said. “It’s really tough to win a tournament, and especially when it’s the first time its in contention. Hunter has been in contentention, but I had three freshmen who had never been in that situation so this is a great result.”

The Gauchos were playing with only four players, which meant they all counted. Will Strauss withdrew for the tournament on Monday because of back issues. Freshman Zach Smith tied for fifth-place at 1-over par 217. He shot an even-par 72 in the final round. In addition, freshmen Brandon Bauman and Willy Moffly each finished 6-over par to tie for 13th-place.

Ryder Epson of Long Beach State and Sam Gillis of Riverside joined Robinson and Gazzolo under par, tying for third at 1-under 215.

UCSB will return to action on Sunday, April 26-Tuesday, April 29 when it travels to the Big West Championship Tournament at the San Luis Obispo Country Club in San Luis Obispo, Calif.