Oct. 26, 2006
SAN JOSE, Calif. - In its first tournament of the 2006-07 season, the UC Santa Barbara golf team shot a nine-under par 279 in the third round to overcame a 14-shot deficit and win the Santa Clara Invitational by two shots over UCLA, 873 to 875.
After the first round of the tourney, the Gauchos trailed firt-place UCLA by seven shots. After two rounds, UCSB totaled 594, 14 shots back of San Francisco (580) and seven shots behind the Bruins (587). In addition, there were seven other teams that UCSB had to climb over enroute to the victory.
Senior Joe Ryon (Carlsbad HS/Carlsbad, Calif.) and freshman Brian Hollenbeck (Fullerton HS/Fullerton, Calif.) tied for fourth-place at 215, and each shot a 68 in the final round to lead the way. Ryon and Hollenbeck tied for the lowest third-round score at the tournament.
A third Gaucho, sophomore Tony Verna (Miramonte HS/Orinda, Calif.), also cracked the 70 mark in the third round with a 69. Verna, who won the Santa Barbara City Championship during the summer, finished tied for 11th-place with a 218. Rounding out UCSB's scores were junior Marty Melcher (East Valley HS/Redlands, Calif.) who finished tied for 46th at 227 and freshman Sean Bowman (Dos Pueblos HS/Santa Barbara, Calif.) who tied for 70th at 234.
The Gauchos won the SCU Invitational with an 873 to UCLA's 875. San Francisco and British Columbia University finished eight shots back at 881, while Gonzaga (886) and Boise State (889) finished fifth and sixth respectively. There were two other Big West schools in the tournament. Cal Poly shot 896 to tie for eighth and Cal State Northridge recorded a 912 to tie for 14th.
Santa Barbara's third-round score of 279 was the lowest score shot by any team at the tournament. San Francisco's second round 282 was the only score even close. The tournament title was UCSB's first since it won the Big West Championship in 1998.
The Gauchos will try to build on their success when they travel to the Bill Cullum Invitational, hosted by Cal State Northridge at Wood Ranch Country Club in Simi Valley, Calif., on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 30-31.