DUPONT, Wash. - The UC San Diego men's golf team sits in a three-way tie for 14th place following Monday's opening round of the NCAA Division II South Central/West Regional, being held at The Home Course outside of Tacoma.
UCSD totaled a 9-over par 297 to tie it with Cal State East Bay and Dixie State. The teams are 18 strokes behind leader Cal State Monterey Bay, which fired a 9-under 279 on the 7,138-yard layout.
"We really just didn't play our game today," said UCSD head coach Mike Wydra. "The conditions were a little different than what we've been used to. It's firm and it bounces in a funny way. I think we'll get used to it and adjust, but our short game let us down. We played a lot better than we scored."
The Tritons' individual leader is junior Lewis Simon, who carded a 2-under par 70 to tie him with five other players for 11th place.
"I hit the ball well today, I was playing pretty consistently," said Simon, whose top finish this season was a tie for fifth at the Classic Club Shootout in Palm Desert in early April. "I was hitting fairways and greens and giving myself a lot of opportunities for birdies. I could have made more putts, but I'm pleased with the 70 of course. Hopefully, more will fall tomorrow, but I'm giving myself chances and that's all I can ask for."
Eight of the nine top 25 nationally-ranked teams in the tournament are among the top 10 in the team standings. Following No. 6 Monterey Bay, No. 10 Western Washington is four strokes back with a 5-under 283 and eighth-ranked Abilene Christian is third with a 1-under 287. No.11 Grand Canyon and No.12 Cal State Stanislaus are tied for fourth with an even par 288. No. 24 Chico State, No. 25 Midwestern State, Colorado-Colorado Springs and Dallas Baptist are all tied for ninth with a 1-over 289. No. 17 Hawaii Hilo rounds out the top 10 with a 2-over 290.
Dallas Baptist’s Kyle Beard is the medalist leader at 6-under par 66. He had seven birdies and one bogey. In a three-way tie for second, one stroke behind, are Midwestern State’s Santiago Gomez, CSUMB’s Brandon Hortt and Newman’s Myles Miller.
Four others are competing for UCSD in DuPont. Freshman Clayton Yamaguchi is tied for 61st (3-over 75), junior Fredrik Palmer-Picard and sophomore Jay Lim are tied for 78th (4-over 76) and junior Jacob Williams is tied for 92nd (6-over 78).
Simon's round consisted of four birdies, 12 pars and just two bogeys. He had two birdies on the front and two on the back. Three of the four came on par-5 holes and the other on a par-4. Both bogeys were on par-4s.
"The greens were firm and you had to land it short to get to the front pins, especially," said Simon. "If you hit your spots, you'd be in good position for birdie. The course is wide open and that's good for me, it gives me more room for error and makes me feel more comfortable."
Twenty-five of the 108 players recorded under-par rounds on a day that saw temperatures reach into the mid-80s.
After a noon start today, UCSD gets the early nod Tuesday as the Tritons hit the course beginning at 7:30 a.m. Williams tees off first and will be followed by Palmer-Picard (7:40 a.m.), Yamaguchi (7:50 a.m.), Simon (8:00 a.m.) and Lim (8:10 a.m.). Each threesome also consists of players from Chico State and Dallas Baptist.
"We have an early start tomorrow, so we won't have that long break between," said Simon. "I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing - hit solid shots, stay below the hole and keep hitting fairways and greens. The putts will fall, you just have to keep giving yourself chances."
The tournament's third and final round will be contested Wednesday.
The top five team finishers and the top two individuals from non-qualifying teams will advance to the NCAA Division II Championships on May 20-24 in Hershey, Pa.
Regional play can be followed with live scoring, which is updated after every three holes.
-- UCSDtritons.com --