Feb. 7, 2006
HOUSTON, Tex. - The winter break did nothing to put the momentum of the No. 53 Santa Clara men's golf team on ice as the Broncos posted a final round team score of 296 to capture the Rice Intercollegiate Tuesday morning. Michael Nicoletti finished tied for second in the individual competition following a four-man playoff.
Carrying a one-stroke lead over Colorado State heading into Tuesday's final round, the Broncos stayed cool despite a blistering wind, shooting 296 to cap a five-stroke victory in the 14-team field over the runner-up Rams and eight strokes ahead of the host Rice Owls in third place.
Head coach Rob Miller credited his team's resolve in being crucial to the victory. Following a first-round 304, which left the Broncos in a tie for eighth, the SCU quintet bore down and weathered the hostile conditions on their way to a tournament-low score of 289 in the second round. That rebound vaulted Santa Clara into first-place at the end of the first day.
"The guys were really disappointed with how they played that first round and they were determined to improve," Miller said. "It was very cold and windy all day, so when they came out they were adjusting to that, and for the most part the biggest thing was that the wind really wore people down and our guys really persevered. Their conditioning and determination really paid off. The 289 was just a phenomenal achievement."
Nicoletti turned in his second runner-up finish of the year, ending up as one of three players edged out in a playoff by individual champion Derrick Whiting of Colorado State. The senior from Dos Palos carded rounds of 73-71-75 for a final score of 219 (+9).
"Mike has been steady all year for us, we've come to expect him to be solid in every tournament he plays in," Miller noted, before also recognizing the solid play of a few other Broncos. "Eric [Lillibridge] did a great job to come back with a round of 70 in the second round after shooting an 81 the round before. That was a solid round and a tribute to his determination."
"We had a freshman, Garrett Logan, who was solid for us this tournament," Miller continued. "Without his first two rounds of 75, we probably don't win the tournament. But today's win was typical for the team, everybody contributes and has rounds that count and they came through again today."
The Santa Clara men will now hit the links for practice the next three weeks before returning to action Feb. 27-28 at the Anteater Invitational in Laguna Niguel.
Pl. School Scores
1 Santa Clara Univ. - 304 289 296 889 +49
2 Colorado State Univ. - 292 302 300 894 +54
3 Rice Owls - 294 304 300 898 +58
4 Texas-San Antonio - 300 301 298 899 +59
5 Pacific, U. of the - 307 302 295 904 +64
Louisiana-Lafayette - 303 300 301 904 +64
7 Louisiana - Monroe - 304 302 302 908 +68
8 Miami (Ohio) - 315 296 298 909 +69
9 Sam Houston St. U. - 311 298 301 910 +70
10 Richmond, Univ. of - 295 306 311 912 +72
11 Louisiana Tech Univ. - 299 313 304 916 +76
12 Stephen F. Austin St - 314 304 300 918 +78
13 N. Car.- Greensboro - 312 309 303 924 +84
14 Tulane University - 303 321 301 925 +85