Gauchos Jump Two Spots to Finish 5th at UC Irvine Invitational

Brett Bennett shot a 2-over par 218 to tie for 10th at the UC Irvine Invitational. (Photo courtesy of UC Irvine)
Brett Bennett shot a 2-over par 218 to tie for 10th at the UC Irvine Invitational. (Photo courtesy of UC Irvine)

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. - Zach Smith fired a 2-under par 214 to finish in fourth-place, leading UC Santa Barbara to a fifth-place finish at the UC Irvine Invitational on Tuesday at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach, Calif.

The Gauchos, who were in ninth-place after the first round, entered Tuesday's final round in seventh, but recorded a 5-under par 283 as a team to jump over Cal Poly and Seattle and into fifth-place. The 283 was the best team score of the day and the second best overall in the tournament.

Smith was at 1-over par entering the third and final round, but he carded a 3-under 69 to move from 13th-place after two round into fourth. Brett Bennett finished with a 2-over par 218 to tie for 10th. Tyler See, who struggled to a 9-over 81 in the first round, shot an even-par 72 in the second and then, in the final round, he had a 4-under 68, tying him with individual medalist Filip Lundell of Grand Canyon for the lowest final round score. See finished tied for 14th-place with a 5-over par 221.

Brandon Jacobs (17-over par, tied for 43rd-place) and Matt Moomjian (21-over par, tied for 55th-place) rounded out UCSB's five-man lineup.

Grand Canyon's Lundell won the individual medalist honor by four shots over UC Irvine's Jonathan Kang who finished at 4-under. Derek Castillo of Cal State Fullerton finished third at 3-under, followed by the Gauchos' Smith who was 1-under par. The top four were the only four players in the field to finish below par.

Fullerton easily won the team title with a 1-under par 863, 11 shots better than Grand Canyon, 16 better than Santa Clara, 17 better than Washington State and 22 ahead of UCSB.

The Gauchos resume play on Feb. 21-23 when they travel to the John A. Burns Intercollegiate at the Wailua Golf Course in Lihue, Kauai, Hawai'i.