by Matt Paulson
The University of La Verne golf team fought cold weather and a world-class golf course as it turned in scores that earned them a second place finish in the conference tournament last Tuesday, April 30.
“The wind howled and swirled,” head coach Rex Huigens said of the conditions for the 36-hole Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship at La Purisima in Lompoc, Calif.
Joey Murray, after receiving the honor of medalist two weeks earlier at the University of Redlands SCIAC-18 with his score of 71, carved his way around La Purisima in the morning to a first round tournament low of 76. The afternoon proved a different story, though, as Murray tallied an 83 in his second round of play for a tournament total of 159 and the low for ULV.
The top seed for the Leopards in the event, Joe Skovron, followed Murray by one stroke with a tournament-total of 160 after two consecutive 80s on the day.
“Disappointing. That’s the first word that comes to mind,” Skovron said. He continued to express that, as an individual, he simply did not play very well.
Also contributing were Andrew Garcia with a second round 77 for a total of 160 and Mario DiCarlo with an afternoon score of 79 for a total of 164, which, said Huigens, were “very good scores” for the team.
The top four scores for each round were counted as ULV managed totals of 324 and 318 for a second-place tournament mark of 642, five behind Redlands’ 637.
“We’re very close,” said Huigens of the competition between ULV and Redlands. “[We] knocked heads all year.”
In reference to the team’s play, Huigens said, “I was proud of the guys. They held it together as a team. This is a great bunch of guys. They have gotten more solid as the year went on.”
He continued to emphasize the positive aspects of the Leopards’ past and present finishes in the tournament.
“We’ve been second three years in a row. The good thing is that we’re consistent. That’s what you want: a chance to win a Championship.”
An important factor resting largely on play in the conference tournament is the selection for the teams to play in the national tournament to be held, this year, May 13-16 in Lincoln, Neb. As a second-place finisher, ULV managed to stay ahead of top-SCIAC competition like Claremont, which helped its bid for a spot in Nationals.
As of the morning of May 1, the National Board has indeed given ULV a place in Nebraska as one of the top teams in the nation. In order to be handed a berth to the National Tournament, the Leopards needed to be one of the top three teams in their district, which includes Division III schools in Texas, California, Washington and Oregon. Huigens said: the Leopards look to be No. 2 in the district overall.
Huigens said that the Leopard goal in the National Tournament is just to “represent ourselves well.”
He continued to talk about advantages he sees for ULV in the tournament, “It’ll be helpful that three of these guys have been there before,” he said.
Whatever the experience or advantages of ULV or any team competing in the tournament, it all comes down to the performance on the days of battle.
ULV will attempt to bring home the National Title through the 72 holes of play in the tournament.