Posted: Apr 25, 2019
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly heads to Hawai'i this weekend seeking its first Big West Conference men's golf championship in 13 years.
Two rounds of play will be held Monday with the final round Tuesday at the Wailua Golf Course on the island of Kauai.
"We have high hopes as sophomore Tanner Podres (pictured below at left) and senior Thomas Lehman (pictured at right) lead the charge," said Mustang head coach Scott Cartwright. "When Tanner and Thomas play well together, we can be solid."
"The guys will be focusing this week on types of shots needed in the heavy cross winds expected next week," Cartwright said of the Mustangs' practice sessions leading up to the conference championship.
Not since Travis Bertoni was a senior in 2006 has Cal Poly claimed a Big West team title. Two former Mustangs have claimed individual honors at the conference finals — Bertoni in 2005 and Justin De Los Santos in 2015.
Podres carries a team-leading 72.8 scoring average into next week's nine-team tournament on the 6,991-yard, par-72 course in Lihue. With second-, fourth- and fifth-place finishes in his last three events, Podres has four career top-20 finishes with 14 rounds of par or better, including three rounds in the 60s.
Lehman's best finish this year was a 12th-place tie in Cal Poly's last event, the UC Santa Barbara Collegiate at Sandpiper. Lehman is averaging 72.3 strokes per round this year and has 16 career rounds of par or better with three rounds in the 60s.
Hoover is next with a 74.2 average, followed by Draper at 75.8 and Casaga at 78.0.
UC Irvine edged UC Davis by one stroke for the 2018 Big West team title and Ryan Han of UC Davis defeated Brandon Bauman of UC Santa Barbara for medalist honors. Bauman won the 2016 event. Han will defend his title next week.
Cal State Fullerton is seeded No. 1, followed by UC Davis and Long Beach State. Those three teams will tee off Monday at 7:30 a.m. HST. Cal Poly is seeded sixth and will tee off with No. 4 UC Santa Barbara and defending champion and fifth-seeded UC Irvine at 8:20 a.m. No. 7 Hawai'i, No. 8 Riverside and No. 9 CSUN tee off at 9:10 a.m.
Admission is free.
Cal State Fullerton posted seven top-three finishes during the regular season, including the team title at the UC Irvine Anteater Invitational. Cal Poly's best finish was sixth among 20 teams in the season-opening Hartford Hawks Invitational.
In the latest GolfStats.com team rankings, Cal State Fullerton tops the nine Big West schools at No. 65, followed by No. 102 UC Davis and No. 107 Long Beach State.
Carrying the Big West's lowest scoring average into the conference finals is Thomas Hutchison of UC Davis at 71.0, followed by Zach Smith of UC Santa Barbara at 71.1 and Joe Fryer of Long Beach State and Derek Castillo of Cal State Fullerton, both with 71.8 averages.
Six 54-hole regional tournaments will be conducted May 12-15. Thirteen teams and ten individuals not on those teams will compete at each of three regionals while the other three regionals will have 14 teams and five individuals not on those teams. The low five teams and the low individual not on those teams from each regional will advance to the finals.
The six regional sites include Palouse Ridge Golf Club in Pullman, Washington, hosted by Washington State University; Stanford Golf Course in Stanford, California, hosted by Stanford University; TPC Myrtle Beach in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, hosted by Coastal Carolina University and Myrtle Beach Regional Sports Alliance; University of Louisville Golf Club in Simpsonville, Kentucky, hosted by the University of Louisville; University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Georgia, hosted by the University of Georgia; and University of Texas Golf Club in Austin, Texas, hosted by the University of Texas.
NCAA team and individual medalist titles will be decided May 24-29 at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
This year's men's golf championships will be broadcast for the sixth consecutive year by Golf Channel with more than 100 news and tournament hours planned again for the NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Golf Championships.
Photos courtesy of Owen Main | www.fansmanship.com