After the first and second rounds of the Bill Cullum Invitational, first-year head coach Michael Wilson predicted that the Long Beach State men’s golf team would win its first tournament of the season — if the team could just shoot under par in the third round. Sitting in a tie for second place at 9-under, the 49ers shot an even-par final round 288 and dropped to third place.
“The team just fought and competed all day, and the result wasn’t due to a lack of effort,” Wilson said. “The guys just weren’t able to score today, and sometimes that’s how it goes.”
Juniors Patrick Pockels and Joe Fryer finished tied for sixth at 4-under par 212, after three consistent rounds of 72, 67 and 73 and 69, 72 and 71 respectively. It’s Pockels second top-10 finish in three starts this season and Fryer has now been in the top-10 in all three of his starts.
Wood Ranch Golf Club in Simi Valley is a 6,849 par-72 golf course that is home to Cal State Northridge. The Matadors were one of five Big West Conference teams competing in the Bill Cullum Invitational, and gave LBSU a good opportunity to see where they stand among conference opponents. The 49ers finished five strokes behind the reigning Big West Conference champions UC Santa Barbara.
Senior Nick Cantlay finished tied for 17th at even par 216, junior Andres Gonzalez shot a 2-over 218 to tie for 25th, and freshman Connor Nelson’s LBSU debut resulted in a tie for 58th after posting an 11-over 227.
“Everyone’s first college tournament is always a rush,” Wilson said. “He may have not gotten the results he was hoping for but I can tell he’s only going to help the team moving forward.”
Pockels led the field of 91 players in par-3 hole scoring at 5-under in the tournament. He was 3-under par in third place heading into the final round before a 1-over par 73 that dropped him three spots into sixth. Pockels performance still earned him the best finish of his career at LBSU.
Fryer’s performance makes it seven out of his last eight starts for the 49ers, in which he finished in the top-10 dating back to last season. His remarkable play has become a normal occurrence as only three of his nine scores posted this season have been in the ‘70s.
Utah State University will take the title back home thanks to a 12-under par 276 in the second round on Monday. The Aggies closed the tournament with a 7-under par 281 in the final round to finish 16-under (291,276,281).
Cal State Fullerton’s Derek Castillo won individual honors after carding back-to-back 65’s to claim the top spot by a comfortable seven strokes. A total of 10 BWC golfers finished with 3-round scores under par in the tournament.
“It was good to see competition from our conference like that,” Wilson said. “We came out hoping to make a statement and I feel like we did our part to show that we’re one of the better teams in this conference.”
LBSU will look to carry its performance into next week when the 49ers head to Stockton for the Visit Stockton Pacific Invitational Oct. 26-28. The three-round event will conclude the fall season for the 49ers who won’t resume competition until January.