Men’s Golf Records Epic Tournament Win

The UC Irvine men’s golf team came back to win the Anteater Invitational in a one-hole playoff at the Mesa Verde Country Club in Costa Mesa.  The tournament was held on Feb. 1 and 2.

The Anteaters entered the third round trailing Santa Clara by 14 shots, but fired a final round of 280 to tie with the Broncos, who shot a 294 on Tuesday for first place with a three-round total of 848.

“We didn’t play well in the second round,” Coach Paul Smolinski said. “We were fortunate enough to shoot four under par.”

All five players participated in the play-off hole with the top four players scoring as UCI captured the title, shooting a two-over (14) while Santa Clara carded a five-over (17) on the 18th hole.

“I was thrilled we were able to come back and win,” Coach Smolinski said. “I didn’t think we had a realistic chance to win the tournament.  Santa Clara helped us … they hurt themselves.”

UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Northridge tied for third with a 54-hole total of 859, while Saint Mary’s was fifth (868), Loyola Marymount was sixth (869) and Sacramento State was seventh (877). Cal Poly (883), UC Riverside (887) and Cal State Fullerton rounded out the top 10.

“The win says a lot about our team’s effort and ability to come back the way they did,” Smolinski said.  “We had a solid effort from everyone.”

Senior John Chin finished first overall in the entire tournament, with an 11-under par 202 (66-65-71). Cal State Northridge’s Nick Delio finished second at 206 (69-67-70) and Loyola Marymount’s Jake Sarnoff had the low round of the day shooting a 65 to move into third place at 208 (72-71-65).

Junior Max Greil tied for seventh place with a score of 213 (73-69-71), while senior Tim Cha (76-72-69) and junior Bryan Harris (74-74-69) were tied for 16th at 217. Freshman Michael Yang rounded out the team standings, finishing 41st with a two-day total of 223 (77-73-73).

“The tournament shows we have the ability to come back.  This was a springboard for our program and the rest of the season ahead,” Smolinski said.

Three UCI players competed individually: freshman Jerry was 21st at 218 (75-71-72), while junior Shaun O’Meara (72-72-75) and freshman Mickey Chan (71-73-75) tied for 25th at 219.

“We have a good men’s and women’s golf program which the student body should be proud of,” Smolinski said.

The UC Irvine men’s golf team was very impressive in the Anteater Invitational. The Anteaters next compete on Feb. 8 and 9 at the Callaway Invitational at the Rancho Santa Fe golf course.  Irvine hopes to continue its good hitting on the golf course this week before heading to Fresno State a month from now for the Fresno State Lexus Classic.