Sophomore Ricky Montanez shot 3-under-par in back-to-back rounds to lead the Long Beach State men’s golf team to fifth place after the first day of the 13th annual Del Walker Intercollegiate Tournament on Thursday.
Montanez, who shot a 68 in the first and second rounds, finished the day at 6-under 136 to finish in a two-way tie for fifth place with San Jose State’s Mark Hubbard at the Virginia Country Club in Long Beach. Colorado State’s Zahkai Brown sits atop the leaderboard at 13-under 129, three shots ahead of UC Irvine’s John Chin.
After struggling on the front nine with four bogeys, Montanez recovered by sinking five birdies over the back nine in the first round, including holes 13, 14 and 15.
In the second round, Montanez recorded five birdies to move four spots up the leaderboard after starting the round in ninth.
LBSU freshman Austin Love moved up 13 spots to finish the day in a three-way tie for 12th. Love, competing for the 49ers’ “B team,” improved by two shots and fired a 2-under 69 in the second round to finish at 2-under 140 for the day.
Junior Michael Drake shot 1-under 70 in the second round to move 10 spots up and finish the day in a 10-way tie for 15th.
Other notable 49ers include freshmen Kevin Roy and Kevin Lim, along with junior Steve Gibson, who carded 1-over 143 to finish the day in a six-way tie for 29th.
The 49ers’ “A team” — comprised of Montanez, Drake, Gibson, Roy and Love — improved by two shots in the second round to finish the day in fifth at 6-under 562. LBSU trails fourth-place Pacific by three shots. Colorado State leads the 15-team field at 33-under 535, 21 shots ahead of second-place UC Irvine and Texas-San Antonio. The Rams beat the tournament record by 20 strokes, previously set by Lamar in 2005.
Final round action starts tomorrow at 7 a.m. Roy will be the first 49er to tee off, paired in the sixth group with Pacific’s Robert Perrott III and San Jose State’s Peter Gibbs at 7:41 a.m. Montanez will tee off in the 10th group with Hubbard and Pacific’s Patrick Kucich at 8:17 a.m.