Blazing Final Round Gives Gauchos 3rd Team Title of Season; Smith Wins Individual Title

2017 Wyoming Cowboy Classic champion UC Santa Barbara.
2017 Wyoming Cowboy Classic champion UC Santa Barbara.

CHANDLER, Ariz. - UC Santa Barbara shot a 16-under par final round to go from 4-shots back to an easy 11-shot victory at the Wyoming Cowboy Classic played at the Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., on Tuesday. Zach Smith finished at 10-under par to win individual medalist honors.

The Gauchos entered the final round in second-place at 5-under par, trailing Long Beach State by 4-shots, but on Tuesday, all five players shot under par and the team rolled to the decisive 11-shot win over Kansas, finishing with a 21-under par 843.

"We had a rocky start with Willy Moffly making bogies on the first two holes," said head coach Steve Lass. "But he got hot and it turned out to be a stress-free round on a very stressful course."

Smith carded a 5-under par 67 in the final round to finish with a 10-under 206. The only player with a better score on Tuesday was teammate Brandon Bauman who finished with a 6-under par 66 to complete the three rounds tied for third at 8-under.

"We started putting up lots of red numbers," Lass said. "We had 25 birdies and by the time we finished the front nine we had turned a four stroke deficit into a seven stroke lead. The final nine holes almost seemed like a walk in the park as the guys hit one good shot after another."

Brett Bennett shot a 2-under 70 in the third round to finish 2-under for the tournament, tying for 15th-place. Matt Moomjian was 3-under on the day and 1-under overall, tying for 17th. Moffly finished 1-under for the day.

"It is quite exceptional to have all five players shoot under par, especially on this course," Lass said. "This was a great place for Zach (Smith) to claim his first collegiate victory. It was very exciting."

Smith actually needed to sink about an 8-foot putt on the 18th hole to secure his first tournament win. Aaron Beverly of Sacramento State, who started the day tied for the lead among individuals, shot 2-under on Tuesday to finish at 9-under for the tournament and in second-place. Bauman and Long Beach State's Joe Fryer tied for third at 8-under par. Fryer began the final round tied with Beverly for the lead.

For the Gauchos, it was their third tournament title during the 2016-17 season. In the fall they won the Bill Cullum Invitational and in February they claimed the championship at the PRO Compression Invitational. In those tourneys, the fields included 15 and 12 teams respectively, the Wyoming Cowboy Classic had a field of 18 teams. In addition, UCSB has recorded a second-place finish at the Folino Invitational and a third-place at the Sacramento State Invitational.  

Kansas shot a solid 7-under par on Tuesday to finish with a 10-under 854. Long Beach State was even-par in the final round and finished at 855, 12 shots back of the Gauchos. Sacramento State (860) and UC Davis (862) rounded out the top-five.

Santa Barbara will play at the Cal Poly Shootout on Monday-Tuesday, April 17-18. The match-play tournament will be played at the Cypress Ridge Golf Club in Arroyo Grande, Calif. That will the final tune-up for the Big West Championship which the Gauchos will host at Sandpiper Golf Course on Monday-Wednesday, May 1-3.