April 18, 2009

Gauchos Look to Qualify for Post-Season at Big West Championships

April 18, 2009

SANTA BARBARA- Calif. - The UCSB golf team will look to extend its yearlong campaign at the eight-team 2009 Big West Golf Championship at San Luis Obispo Country Club on Apr. 20-21. Monday and Tuesday will be the first time the Championship has been held at SLO CC, after five years at Tijeras Creek.

Competing teams include Cal Poly, Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UCSB, and Pacific. UC Davis, currently ranked No. 33 in the country in the Golfweek/Sagarin ratings, secured the number one seed of the tournament thanks to seven top-three finish and a pair of tournament crowns, most recently at the Wyoming Cowboy Classic, Apr. 6-7

UC Irvine and Pacific earned the number two and three seeds in the tournament, respectively. UCSB is the fifth seed, finishing in the top-ten twice during the spring campaign.

Coming into the tournament, the Gauchos are averaging 292.87 strokes per round in 10 competitions on the season. Since finishing second at November's Sycuan Invitational back in November, the best finish UCSB earned was 9th place at the Braveheart Classic in early March.

Tyler Weir has been swinging a hot stick for the Gauchos of late, fresh off consecutive t-20th and 19th place finishes and the Western Intercollegiate and the Wyoming Cowboy Classic. At the Cowboy Classic, Weir averaged 70.67 in three rounds, topped off by a 1-under 69 in the second round. Weir boast the lowest scoring average on the team with 73.56, three percentage points better than the next best player.

Usually a solid player guaranteed to shoot in the low 70's, Brian Hollenbeck has struggled of late, finishing in consecutive 73rd place ties in the Gauchos' most recent two tournaments. For Hollenbeck, who has three sub-70 rounds on the season, this weekend is a legitimate shot at regaining the form that has made him UCSB go-to player.

Filling in for an injured Matt Grush in the Gauchos top-five is sophomore Andrew Gunson. In five tournaments during the spring season, Gunson has averaged 73.79 stroked per round, his best coming in the form of a 2-under 68 on the final day of the Cowboy Classic. Before his injury, Grush led the Gauchos with a 73 stroke per round average.

The 54-hole tournament includes 36 holes on Monday and 18 on Tuesday on the 6,769 yard, par-72 track. Tee times start at 7:10 am each day. Admission to the event is free and live scoring can be tracked on www.golfstat.com.

A recap of first-day results will be available on the UCSB Athletic Department website at http://ucsbgauchos.cstv.com/.

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