After a three month break from competitive play, the Long Beach State men’s golf team returned to action in the Waves Challenge hosted by Pepperdine at Saticoy Country Club in Somis, California. High winds and fast greens caused first and second round scores to reach the mid-80’s and the 49ers finished fifth out of 15 teams.
“Even without as much wind as [Monday], the course was still playing very tough,” junior Andres Gonzalez said. “You still have to change the way you play because the greens are fast and have a lot of false fronts.”
Wind gusts up to 30 mph blew during round one and part of the round two on Monday, resulting in a team score of 41-over par 617. The effort was still enough for second place in the tournament, although they trailed Pepperdine by 23 strokes heading into the final 18 holes.
“The best part about this week was that we were able to stay in second for a majority of all three rounds,” Gonzalez said. “It wasn’t until the end when we stopped playing as well and fell to fifth.”
Gonzalez led Long Beach in scoring with a three round score of 9-over par 225 and tied for eighth among a field of 76 players. He shot the lowest round of the tournament for the 49ers with a 1-over par 73 in the final round thanks to four birdies.
Medal honors went to Pepperdine junior Sahith Theegala who won by a school-record 16 strokes with a total score of 11-under par 205. His final two rounds of 68 and 67 made him one out of only two players in the tournament in the 60’s. It was the second victory of his college career.
Other notable Long Beach players include senior Nick Cantlay who was 15-over par and tied for 16th and junior Joe Fryer who erased a forgettable 84 in the first round with a 77 and a 76 to close out the week. The 49ers No. 2 finished the Waves Challenge tied for 36th, the first time Fryer has been outside the top-30 spots in his last 11 events.
Long Beach will travel to Hawai’i for the John A. Burns Intercollegiate at Wailua Country club in Kauai Feb. 15-17.
“I think we are close [to a win]; much closer than last year,” Gonzalez said. “The way we have been preparing is much different and it is really going to benefit us in our next couple of tournaments.”