PASO ROBLES, Calif. - The UC San Diego men's golf team made history on Tuesday, finishing in third place at the 2012 California Collegiate Athletic Association Championships at the Hunter Ranch Golf Course in Paso Robles.
The Tritons began the day in fourth place after carding rounds of 288 and 291 on Monday, but moved up one spot in the final team standings with a third round 287. UCSD wrapped up the tournament at 2-over par, 866, marking the program's highest finish at the conference championships in 12 seasons as a member of the CCAA.
The Tritons' 866 was also their lowest tally in a tournament this season.
"We played extremely well over the last two days and to finish third in this tournament with such a young group is really a testament to the work they've put in this season," UCSD head coach Mike Wydra said. "They worked hard all year and put in the work in practice and today is really a culmination of that effort."
Freshman Jay Lim paved the way for UCSD, posting a final score of 5-under par, 211 over three rounds on the par-72, 6,741-yard Hunter Ranch layout. After carding rounds of 72 and 73 on Monday, the La Canada native came back with a stellar 66 in the final round to finish in a two-way tie for fourth place with Cal State Stanislaus' Rob Damschen.
Lim's 66 was the best individual round of the tournament.
Sophomore Jacob Williams was the Tritons' next-highest finisher, carding rounds of 71, 70 and 74 to wrap up the competition at -1, 215. His score was good enough for a share of eighth place overall.
Williams finished three strokes in front of teammate Lewis Simon, who was tied for 18th place at +2, 218. Simon posted rounds of 72, 75 and 71. Freshman Marc Herrmann rounded out the scoring for UCSD, finishing with a share of 28th place at +8, 224 following rounds 73, 75 and 76.
No. 7 Chico State, which held a slim two-stroke advantage over second place over Cal State Stanislaus heading into the final round, shot a tournament-best 280 on Tuesday to run away with the conference title. The Wildcats finished with an impressive final tally of -18, 846 to win their first-ever CCAA Championship.
CSUS finished in second place at -9, 855, coming in 11 strokes in front of UCSD. The third-ranked Warriors also shot a 287 on Tuesday.
Cal State Monterey Bay's Alex Sobstad won a three-way playoff with Chico State's Kyle Souza and Eric Frazzetta on the first playoff hole to claim individual medalist honors. All three players finished with three-round tallies of -6, 210, edging out Lim and Damschen by a single stroke.
The Tritons, who have now recorded a top-three finish in two of their last three tournaments, will now await the announcement of the NCAA Division II Super Regional Fields later this week to see if their season will continue. The Tritons are currently ranked No. 10 in the West and would appear to be on their way to earning a spot in the 10-team West Regional field.
UCSD last qualified for the NCAA Championships in 2007.
CCAA Tournament Notes
UCSD's highest finish at the CCAA Championships before this year was a fourth place showing at Diablo Grande Ranch in Patterson in 2004... The Tritons finished in front of Cal State Monterey Bay (No. 6) and Cal State East Bay (No. 7) in Paso Robles, two programs that are currently ranked ahead of UCSD in the region... Lim's 66 tied for the lowest single round by a Triton this season. Williams also shot a 66 in the second round at the Cal State San Bernardino Coyote Classic on February 27... While UCSD has not made the NCAA field as a team in five years, the Tritons have had at least one individual representative in Super Regional play every year since 2007. Current assistant coach Keith Okasaki was UCSD's lone representative each of the past two seasons.