The Santa Clara men's golf team tees up its 2013 season on September 9 when the squad travels to Pullman, Wash., to compete in the Washington State Itani Quality Homes Collegiate at the 7,308-yard Palouse Ridge Golf Club.
Under ninth-year head coach Rob Miller, the Broncos look to rebound from last season's injury-ravaged campaign that saw several players miss significant time due to various ailments and the team compete in several tournaments with just four healthy players.
All that is in the past and the Broncos start the new season with a full, healthy roster. "Everybody starts healthy," Miller joked. "We are as healthy as we can expect."
Incoming freshmen Tyler Kertson (Paradise Valley, Ariz.), Evan McLeod (Pebble Beach, Calif.) and Dane Casaga (Murrieta, Calif.) will push the veterans for playing time. "Adding them to the roster gives us a lot of talent to draw on," Miller said of his first-year players. "We will have an interesting competition to see who competes on the team."
Seniors Bobby Monaco and Scott Lowe, both in their fourth year on the squad, are expected to provide the veteran leadership while sophomore Gio Gandionco looks to improve on his stellar rookie season. The three played in a team-high 10 tournaments and 27 rounds each last season.
Sophomores Carlos Briones and Drew Miller, both of whom missed significant time last season, will add to the fierce competition for playing time. "We're so young were looking to get some competition," Miller said. "We have a depth of talent we haven't had in a while."
"We are very talented but we lack experience," Miller said of his roster. "Of our players coming back, two played just half a year and the others didn't get to play much either. We're not real experienced and that makes it hard to predict out of the chute."
Despite the team's lack of experience, Miller likes the makeup of the squad and believes the team can compete at a high level early, starting on Monday. "The first tournament (of the season) you don't know how good everybody is going to be," he said. "A top three finish is something we would like."
Santa Clara's top finish last season was fifth at the Saint Mary's Invitational.
After dealing with an inordinate amount of injuries last season that left his team shorthanded and unable to compete at a high level, Miller evoked his own bit of wisdom before the start of a new season, "I think we will be a strong team by the end of the year as long as we stay healthy."
Itani Quality Homes Men's Golf Collegiate
Dates (Site): Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 9-10 (Pullman, Wash.)
Host: Washington State University
Field (12 teams): Boise State, British Columbia, Cal State Chico, Cal State Fullerton, Gonzaga, Idaho, Sacramento State, San Jose State, Santa Clara, Seattle, Utah Valley and Washington State.
Details: 36 holes played Monday and the final 18 holes played Tuesday. First-round tee times will begin at 7:30 a.m. Monday, and final round tee times will begin at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Course: Palouse Ridge Golf Club
Yardage/Par: 7,308-yards/Par 70
Course Website: www.PalouseRidge.com
Course Number: (509) 335-4342
Live Scoring: www.GolfStat.com