The UC Riverside men’s golf team continued its strong start to the 2012 fall season as the team traveled to Nipomo, CA this past week to take part in the Firestone Grill Invitational. Led by BJ Doucett, the Highlanders had a superb performance all across the board as the golf team finished in third place out of 10 teams in the event.

UC Riverside started off well as the Highlanders shot a two-round total score of 287 to place third at the end of the first day.

It was Jason Semthiti who paced UC Riverside that day as he fired a 68 after the first round of play. BJ Doucett was right behind him, as he finished with respectable scores of 71 and 68 after the first 36 holes of the first day.

Riding that momentum, UC Riverside continued to perform admirably on the second day. The Highlanders shot a respectable 286 in the third and final round of competition.  That score was good enough to give Riverside a strong third-place finish overall at the end of the invitational. The Highlanders finished just 11 strokes behind the second-place Cal State Fullerton Titans and ended with a total score of 862.

The winner of the event was Cal Poly with a total score of 847. UC Riverside was just 15 strokes behind Cal Poly’s final score.

UC Riverside’s BJ Doucett remained consistent in the final round as he fired a 73 on the final day of competition. The score was good enough to move him up a few places in the final individual standings. He proved to be the Highlanders’ top performer in the event as he shot a 212 to tie for fifth place overall.

Jason Semthiti, who started the tournament in sixth place after his great first-round start, fired higher scores thereafter. He shot scores of 78 and 74, respectively, in the following two rounds to fall the way down to 27th place after such a terrific beginning.

David Gazzolo shot consistent scores of 73-72-71 to finish tied for 11th with a 216, Ryan Smith ended the day tied for 20th after shooting a 219, and rounding out UCR’s top five was Matt Fitzgerald who shot a 223, placing 31st overall.

Jonathan Garrick from UCLA was the invitational’s best player as he fired a 201 to earn the top individual spot.

For the Highlanders, this proved to be the second straight time the team finished in third place this year. This has been one of the Highlanders’ best starts to a season in recent memory. A year ago, the team finished no higher than eighth place in their first two events. Their best performance of the 2011 to 2012 season was a third-place finish at the Cal Poly Firestone Grill Invite last October.

Riverside will look to continue its solid play as they travel to Simi Valley, CA on Oct. 22 to participate in the Bill Cullum Invitational. Last season, the Highlanders finished in 10th place at that very event. With this recent hot streak, UC Riverside will look for a different result this time around.