Top-Seeded UCSB to Host Big West Golf Championship at Sandpiper GC

Zach Smith (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Zach Smith (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara will host the 2017 Big West Men's Golf Championship on Monday-Wednesday, May 1-3 at Sandpiper Golf Course on the ocean just north of the campus. The three-day, 54-hole tournament will determine the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals.

The first and second rounds will tee-off at 11:30 a.m. while Wednesday's final round will begin at 7:30 a.m.

For the first time ever, the Gauchos are the No. 1 seed in a tournament they last won in 1998. They enter the championship having won back-to-back tournaments at the Wyoming Cowboy Classic and the Cal Poly Shootout. In all, UCSB has a school record four tournament titles in 2016-17, also having won the Bill Cullum Invitational and the PRO Compression Invitational. In addition, there were a second-place finish at the Folino Invitational and a third-place finish at the Sacramento State Intercollegiate.

"We've played well and it's exciting to have the opportunity to play on a course that is very familiar to us," said head coach Steve Lass. "It should be a great three days."

The Gauchos are led by juniors Zach Smith and Brandon Bauman.

Smith has earned a pair of Big West Golfer of the Month awards this season. He is averaging 71.97 shot per round and has recorded five top-10 finishes, including three in a row. Smith was also the individual medalist at the Wyoming Cowboy Classic where he shot a 10-under par 206 to win by one shot.

Bauman, the 2016 Big West Golfer of the Year, has four top-10 finishes this season, including three in a row. He finished tied for second at the Sacramento State Intercollegiate with a 3-under par 213, tied for third at the Bill Cullum Invitational with a 9-under par 207 and tied for third at the Wyoming Cowboy Classic with an 8-under par 208. Bauman enters the Big West Championship with a stroke average of 72.03, second on the team to Smith.

Rounding out UCSB's lineup will be junior Willy Moffly, sophomore Nick Swanson and freshman Brett Bennett. Moffly is averaging 73.63 shots per round and has four top-10 finishes, including fifth-places at the Bill Cullum Invitational and PRO Compression Invitational. Swanson is averaging 72.32 strokes per round and has a trio of top-10 finishes, including a sixth-place at the Bill Cullum Invitaional. Bennett has a stroke average of 72.39 and has three top-10 finishes, including a third-place at the PRO Compression Invitational.

Cal Poly received the No. 2 seed in the championship and claimed one team title this year along with three other top-3 finishes. Cole Nygren paces the Mustangs with a 72.2 stroke average and is followed by Justin De Los Santos with a 72.3 mark.

The winner of the league tournament will advance to the NCAA Regionals. The six regional sites include The Grove, College Grove, Tennessee, hosted by Middle Tennessee State University; Kampen Course, West Lafayette, Indiana, hosted by Purdue University; Stanford Golf Course, Stanford, California, hosted by Stanford University; University of Texas Golf Club, Austin, Texas, hosted by University of Texas at Austin; University Club, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, hosted by LSU and Aldarra Golf Club, Sammamish, Washington, hosted by University of Washington.