ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara men's golf team shot 22-under par and led from wire-to-wire at the Cal Poly Shootout, rolling to its fourth tournament title of the season. The Gauchos finished 24 shots ahead of second-place UC Irvine in the event played at the Cypress Ridge Golf Course.
UCSB led by eight strokes after the first round and increased that to 18 by the end of the second round on Monday. In Tuesday's final round, the teams had to contend with rainy conditions, but the Gauchos were still able to muster a 1-over par score to build their ultimate advantage to 24.
"We got off to a good start shooting 5-under and then played a phenomenal 2nd round shooting 18-under," said UCSB head coach Steve Lass. "An 18 stroke lead after two rounds is pretty commanding and while I'm not pleased with the amount of others (double bogeys or worse) we had today, I was pleased with our team score of 1-over par in somewhat difficult conditions."
In addition to the rain, teams had to deal with soft ground conditions at Cypress Ridge.
Unlike the rest of the tournaments that the Gauchos played in this year, the Cal Poly Shootout was a "play six, count five" format rather than the standard "play five, count four" format.
UCSB lineup was outstanding from top to bottom with five players finishing among the top-10 and a sixth finishing tied for 20th.
Zach Smith, who won the Wyoming Cowboy Classic last week, continued his hot play. He finished tied for fourth-place at 5-under par. He shot a 3-under par in the first round to get his team off to a srong start and he finished with a 2-under par 70 in the final round. Smith has now recorded six consecutive rounds of par or below, including four rounds under 70.
Brandon Bauman and Willy Moffly each finished tied for sixth at 4-under par. Bauman's best round was a 3-under in the second round and he, like Smith, was at or under par in all three rounds. He has now been at or under par in five consecutive rounds. Moffly's 4-under in the second round was the second best round by a Gaucho in the tournament.
Brett Bennett and Nick Swanson each carded a 3-under par to tie for 10th-place. Bennett's 5-under par 67 in the second round was the top round by a UCSB player in the shootout. Swanson shot a 3-under in the second round and was at or under in all three rounds.
Matt Moomjian finished tied for 20th at 3-over par, but his 3-under par 69 in the second round was among the five best Gaucho scores and was factored into the 18-under par round.
For the Gauchos, it was their fourth tournament title during the 2016-17 season. In the fall they won the Bill Cullum Invitational, in February they claimed the championship at the PRO Compression Invitational and last week they won the Wyoming Cowboy Classic. In those tourneys, the fields included 15, 12 and 18 teams respectively. The Cal Poly Shootout had a field of nine teams. In addition, UCSB has recorded a second-place finish at the Folino Invitational and a third-place at the Sacramento State Invitational.
The host, Cal Poly, finished in third, one shot back of UC Irvine and 25 back of the Gauchos. New Mexico State was fourth, 30 shots off the pace and North Dakota State was fifth, 31 shots behind. Irvine's David Kim was the individual medalist, one shot ahead of New Mexico State's Luis Medina and two ahead of his teammate, Bryan Shin. Smith and Jimmy Castles of Cal Poly finished three shots off the pace.
The Shootout was the final tune-up for the 2017 Big West Championship Tournament, which the Gauchos will host on Monday-Wednesday, May 1-3 at Sandpiper Golf Course on the coast just north the UCSB campus.
"I'm excited and proud of our team for winning four regular season events," Lass said. "I look forward to the conference tournament, it should be exciting."