The UC Riverside golf team had a difficult outing at the Big West Conference Championship at the La Quinta Resort in La Quinta, CA last week. The Highlanders finished with a final score of 909, placing them in ninth. Instead of steadily advancing in rank throughout each round, the Highlanders found themselves steadily declining and falling into last place.
Day one of the Big West Conference Championship yielded average results for the Highlanders on Sunday morning. Matt Fitzgerald landed 40th place individually, shooting 78. David Gazzolo ended at a tie for 36th place while Ryan Smith finished slightly ahead, tied at 34th place shooting 76. Jason Semthiti led the way for the Highlanders, hitting 70 and placing 5th individually. UCR totaled 294 and ended up in a tie with Long Beach State for sixth place out of nine teams participating. Coming within four strokes of CSU Fullerton, who were only a couple of places ahead, the Highlanders had room to move up going into the second day.
Day two presented problems for the Highlanders as they stumbled in the standings. First place Pacific was overtaken by UC Davis and UCR dropped four shots behind Cal Poly to take over the ninth and last spot. Ryan Smith and Semthiti led the way for the Highlanders scoring identical total marks of 150 and ending in a tie for 29th place. Gazzolo trailed the group, going 77-82 for a total two round mark of 159 and 43rd place. UCR had a two day total of 603 and nowhere to look but up going into the third and final day.
Tuesday was the third and final day of the championship. The Highlanders found themselves even farther from the top than ever. UCR netted a grand total of 909 and ended 14 shots behind eighth place CSU Northridge. Individual scores yielded negative results as well. Matt Fitzgerald and Ryan Smith ended in a lock for 33rd place with matching totals of 226 each. Gazzolo managed to move up a spot and land in the 42nd place with a 240 total. UC Davis won the team championship edging Long Beach State by just one stroke.