LITCHFIELD PARK, Ariz. - The UC San Diego golf team posted its highest finish of the season Tuesday, placing second of 16 squads at the Thunderbirds Invitational, hosted by Grand Canyon University at the Wigwam Golf Resort outside of Phoenix.
UCSD had a three-round total of 888, 24-over par on the Gold Course. Host and 22nd-ranked GCU continued its solid play and won the team title by 22 strokes, carding a 2-over 866. Central Oklahoma, the No. 12 team in the nation, finished one stroke behind UCSD, taking third place with a 25-over 889.
"We have played some tough courses lately, so we were prepared for this difficult one," said UCSD head coach Mike Wydra.
Sophomore Jay Lim was once again UCSD's top individual, placing sixth overall in a field of 85 golfers. He was just one stroke back of tying four others for second place. The La Cañada native totaled a 218, 2-over on the par-72 layout. Lim was under par in both of Monday's rounds, shooting a 71 and a 70 before concluding play with a 77 Tuesday. He collected 12 birdies, tied for the most by any competitor.
UCSD junior Lewis Simon also placed among the top-15, coming in tied for 13th with an 8-over 224 (71-75-78). He recorded 11 birdies during the tourney.
Also for UCSD, freshman Daniel Yang tied for 22nd (74-80-72--226), junior Ryan Rankin tied for 29th (73-73-81--227) and freshman Clayton Yamaguchi finished in a tie for 37th (75-79-75--229).
"We shuffled the lineup a bit for this tournament and that really paid off," said Wydra. "We moved Ryan (Rankin) up into the fifth spot and he responded nicely with a pair of 73s on Monday."
Grand Canyon's Jimmy Kozikowski took home the individual crown as the only player to stay below par after three rounds. He shot back-to-back 69s Monday and a 71 Tuesday for a total of 209, 7-under. Ryan Mahoney of Grand Canyon, Dillon Rust from Central Oklahoma and Dixie State's Cody Wass and Kenny You all tied for second place with a 1-over 217.
The Tritons were in first place after shooting 289 in Monday's opening round. They finished the day in second, recording a 297 in the second round, and held that position with a 302 Tuesday.
Finding itself in third after totaling a 292 in the first round, Grand Canyon jumped to the top spot on the team leaderboard with a 286 in the second, the low score of the round. The Antelopes' 288 in the final round was eight strokes better than their closest competitor.
The second-place finish was UCSD's highest since taking second at the Skyhawk Desert Shootout on April 3, 2012. The Tritons have placed in the top-10 in all seven tournaments they have competed in this season.
It was the second-straight tourney in which Lim finished as the top Triton. He was 10th at the Southern California Intercollegiate Championship, hosted by UCSD March 11-12 at Mission Viejo Country Club.
The Tritons have a week off before competing in the Skyhawk Classic Club Shootout, which will be held April 8-9 at the Classic Club in Palm Desert.
-- UCSDtritons.com --