SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - With the wind howling and leading by a mere two shots, UC Santa Barbara seniors Zach Smith and Brett Bennett each calmly sank par putts on the 18th hole to help the Gauchos hold on for an 868-870 victory over UC Riverside in the 2019 UCSB Collegiate Golf Tournament on Tuesday at Sandpiper Golf Course.
The Gauchos, who entered the day with a 7-shot lead over Weber State, were one of the final three teams off the tees in the third and final round. With the wind blowing harder and harder as the afternoon wore on, it was challenge to hang on for the victory.
"Zach and Brett each hit really big putts for us at the end," said head coach Steve Lass. "Zach's first putt on 18 was almost perfect and he gave himself a short one to end it. Brett's final putt was from about 10 feet in tough conditions. This was a good win for us."
Smith, who held the individual led for much of the final round, settled for a 1-under par 215, tying for second with Cal Poly's Tanner Podres and Cal Baptist's Ben Hallam. The trio at 1-under each finished two shots back of Andrew Spilman of UC Riverside who finished with a 3-under par 213. Bennett tied for eighth-place with a 2-over par 218.
UCSB (+4) and UC Riverside (+6) were followed by Weber State, which finished with a 7-over par 871. UC San Diego (+11, 875) and Cal Baptist (+12, 876) rounded out the top-five.
Brandon Bueno, playing as an independent, was the Gauchos' next highest finisher with a 4-over par 220, good for 17th-place. Justin Sheparovich tied for 23rd with a 7-over 223, while Brandon Jacobs and Ryan Cuenca each carded an 8-over par 224, tying for 25th. Cuenca was competing as an individual. Matt Moomjian and Tyler See each finished with an 11-over par 227 to tie for 33rd. Finally, Keith Moles, competing as an indy, tied for 36th with a 12-over par 228.
UCSB returns to action at the 2019 Big West Golf Championship on Monday and Tuesday, April 29-30. This year's tournament will be held at Wailua Golf Course - Lihue, Kauai, Hawai'i.