April 24, 2007
RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara golf team shot a respectable 291 in Tuesday's third and final round of the 2007 Big West Championship at La Tijeras Creek Golf Club in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., but it was not enough to overcome a poor second round performance as the Gauchos carded a 24-over par 888 and finished in seventh-place, nine shots back of sixth-place.
UCSB's 291 in Tuesday's third round was just two shots worse than it shot in the first round when it was tied for second. Ultimately, however, the 308 that the Gauchos recorded in Monday's second round cost them dearly.
The tournament was not without some bright spots for Santa Barbara. Freshmen Brian Hollenbeck and Matt Grush were the team's top-two finishers. Hollenbeck finished at 1-under par 215, good for eighth-place overall. Grush, who came on strong at the end of the season, checked-in with a 5-over par 221 and tied for 17th. Joe Ryon, the only senior on the Gaucho roster, tied for 25th at 9-over par 225. Sophomore Tony Verna tied for 29th at 227 and sophomore Marty Melcher tied for 34th at 233.
UC Irvine entered the final round with a hefty 22-shot lead over second-place Pacific. The Anteaters, who shot a final-round 290, lost only three shots off their lead to the Tigers, who shot 287. Cal Poly, however, was the story on Tuesday. The Mustangs, who were 24-shots back in third place after two rounds, shot a tournament-best 269 to shave 21 shots from UCI's lead and wound up in second-place, just three shots back. Pacific finished third.
Long Beach State's Brett Lederer won the individual title with a 12-under par 204. Cal Poly's Colin Peck was second at 7-under par 209 and UCI's John Chin carded a 5-under par 211.
The Big West Tournament will mark the end of UCSB's 2006-07 campaign. The Gauchos had one of their most successful seasons in recent years, including on tournament title, a second-place finish and several other top-10 finishes.