April 3, 2007

Cal Poly Rallies to win OGIO-Pacific Coast Intercollegiate; Gauchos Finish in Seventh out of 18 Teams

April 3, 2007

SOLVANG, Calif. - Chris Kirk shot a 17-under par 199 to win the individual title as Cal Poly rallied in the final round of the OGIO-Pacific Coast Intercollegiate to win by five shots over the University of Denver on Tuesday at the Alisal River Course in Solvang, Calif. The Mustangs finished with a 37-under par 827 to the Pioneers 32-under par 832.

Kirk, who shot a spectacular 64 on the par-72 course in the first round on Monday morning, followed that up with solid rounds of 67 on Monday afternoon and 68 on Tuesday to close out the tournament as the only player to need fewer than 200 strokes. He was the individual medalist by four strokes over Russell Grove of the University of Idaho, who shot a 13-under 203, including second and third round scores of 65 and 66.

On the team front, Cal Poly was able to overcome Denver's day-one onslaught. During the first 36 holes, the Pioneer players shot eight rounds under 70 and nine at or below par. Cal Poly remained within striking distance, partially on the strength of Kirk and Geoff Gonzalez, who recorded three sub-par rounds and finished in a tie for fifth with an 11-under par 205. Denver, which led until the middle of the final round, was paced b Jeff Kopivetz who tied for third at 12-under par.

UC Irvine, the highest ranked team in the tournament at No. 37, finished third and led a group of seven other schools that were under par by at least 11 shots. The Anteaters were led by John Chin, who finished with a 9-under par 207,and they shot 840 as a team, 24-under par. Oregon State finished fourth with an 842, 22-under par. The University of San Diego shot a 19-under par 845 to edge Washington State, which shot an 846, for fifth-place.

UC Santa Barbara, the tourney host, finished seventh with a 13-under par 851. Two other schools, Pacific and St. Mary's, also logged double-digit under-par scores. The Tigers and Gaels tied for eighth at 11-under par.

UCSB's top finisher was first-year player Matt Grush, who played as an individual. Grush, who had a 66 in the first round, stayed in contention with a pair of 2-under par 70s in the final two rounds. His 10-under par 206 was good enough for a seventh-place finish. Among Gauchos who played on the top-five, senior Joe Ryon finished in a tie for 13th with a 7-under par 209 and sophomore Tony Verna shot a 6-under par 210 to tie for 17th. Freshman Brian Hollenbeck tied for 33rd when he logged a 3-under par 213.

"We had conditions for great scores," said UCSB head coach and tournament director Steve Lass. "There was great weather and players who were hot. Those two things normally lead to outstanding finishes and that is what we had."

UCSB will return to action on Monday, April 9 when it travels to the Wyoming Cowboy Classic at the Talking Stick Golf Course in Scottsdale, Ariz. The tourney will run on April 9 and April 10. The Gauchos will play at the Big West Championships at the Tijeras Creek Golf Course in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., on April 23-24.