The UC Irvine men’s golf team captured its first Big West Championship in four years, holding off a late surge from Cal Poly during the three-round tournament from April 23 to 24 at the Tijeras Creek Golf Course.
Heading into the final 18 holes, the Anteaters held a 24-shot lead over Cal Poly and looked well on their way to capturing the title for the first time since 2003.
Cal Poly got hot late and tried to put together a furious comeback. And while UCI shot a 2-over par in the final round, the Mustangs shot 19-under, finishing in second place, three shots off the lead.
UCI had a balance attack throughout the tournament with all five of its players finishing in the top 10.
Freshman John Chin was the lowest scorer for UCI, finishing in third place.
Senior Brian Edick tied for sixth, senior Jay Choe finished in ninth place and sophomores Tim Cha and Sean Shahi tied for 10th.
UCI was favored to win the championship and wasted no time establishing its dominance, jumping out to a 17-shot lead after the first round.
‘I thought it was an amazing first round for us,’ Edick said. ‘But as quickly as we caught fire, we lost our touch in the last round. Everybody on the team dug pretty deep to hold off Cal Poly.’
Chin went into the final round tied for first place but was unable to catch Brett Lederer of Long Beach State, who captured the individual title.
Chin wasn’t as disappointed given the team’s success.
‘I wish I would have played better on the last day but I couldn’t care less as long as I help the team win,’ Chin said.
Head Coach Paul Smolinski said he was also impressed with Chin’s performance throughout the tournament.
‘Obviously, anytime a freshman leads the way like John did, it is exciting for the program. I am also excited for the two seniors winning it in their last season.’
The two seniors
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