SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Coming off a successful and competitive fall season, the Santa Clara men's golf team begins its 2014 spring season at The Farms Collegiate Invitational on Monday. The two-day, 54-hole event hosted by the University of San Diego will be played at the 6,947-yard, par-72 Farms Golf Club in Rancho Santa Fe.
Half of the 12-team field consists of West Coast Conference members including Pacific, San Francisco, Loyola Marymount and Saint Mary's, as well as host San Diego and Santa Clara. Teams and individuals will play 36 holes on Monday with a single 18-hole round on Tuesday.
The Broncos ended the fall season with a second place showing at the SCVB Pacific Invitational on November 2, their highest finish and best placement since winning the six-count-five Long Beach State Del Walker Invitational on March 8, 2011. The Broncos also had a fourth place finish at the Cabo Del Sol Intercollegiate and a sixth place showing at the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate in their five events.
"The combination of Tyler and Evan has been instrumental in us improving this year," said head coach Rob Miller. "During the fall season they got more comfortable playing at this level."
Kertson's best score of the fall season came during his final round when, with the help of two eagles on the back-nine, he shot a 6-under 65 on the last day of the SCVB Pacific Invitational. He ended the tournament with a 3-under 210. "Tyler has gotten better and better," Miller noted. "His best tournament was his last one (of the fall) and he has steadily improved his game. He has continued this trend over the winter and it looks like he'll have a solid spring."
McLeod's best 54-hole score of the fall also came at the SCVB Pacific Invitational when he fired a 3-over 216 that included a 2-under 69 on the second day, his best round of the fall. "Evan has been consistent, just a real solid contributor," Miller said. "Solid play from our freshman is a big boost for the program. They are getting valuable experience."
Sophomore Carlos Briones led all Broncos during the fall with a 71.75 stroke average and scored at or below par in six of his last eight rounds. He shot a career-low and team season-best 7-under-par 64 in the final round of the SCVB Pacific Invitational. "He's trying to establish himself as an elite player," Miller stated.
Senior Scott Lowe was the only other Bronco to compete in all 15 rounds during the fall and also had his finest event in the last tournament when he carded a career-best 54-hole score of 207 (-6). He was the only player with consecutive rounds in the 60s when he scored 69 in the second and 67 in the final.
"Scott is just a solid contributor," Miller said. "He's played every tournament and is a stalwart, a guy everybody on the team looks up to."
Miller will look for contributions from sophomores Gio Gandionco and Drew Miller as well as senior Bobby Monaco to help keep the momentum from a triumphant fall season rolling into the spring. "We don't have a true No. 1 player," he noted. "Any one of the seven players can lead this team at any tournament."
WCC MEN'S GOLF NEWS
The conference office released its preseason coaches poll and all-conference team this week. The Broncos placed fifth in a vote of head coaches with 30 points. BYU was the overwhelming favorite garnering eight first place votes and 64 points. Sophomore Carlos Briones was the only Bronco named to the 10-member preseason all-conference team.
The WCC Championship will be held at the Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash. on April 14-16.
Name: The Farms Collegiate Invitational
Dates (Site): Monday-Tuesday, Feb. 10-11 (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.)
Host: University of San Diego
Field (12 teams): San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Denver, Kennesaw State, Fresno State, Duke, Pacific, San Francisco, Loyola Marymount, UC Riverside and Saint Mary's
Details: 36 holes will be played on Monday (Feb. 10) with a shotgun start beginning at 8:15 a.m. (PST). A single 18-hole round will be played on Tuesday (Feb. 11) teeing off at 8:00 a.m. from the first and tenth tee box.
Course: The Farms Golf Club
Yardage / Par: 6,947 yards / Par 72
Course Website: www.thefarmsgolfclub.com
Course Address: 8500 St. Andrews Road, Rancho Santa Fe, CA, 92067
Course Number: (858) 756-5585
Live Stats: www.golfstat.com