The UC Davis men’s golf team headed to the San Luis Obispo Country Club for the Big West Conference Tournament with a bad taste in its mouth. The Aggies were nine holes away from winning the conference title last season before letting things slip away. “We let an opportunity go last year,” said coach Cy Williams said before the tournament. “I think they’ll be ready to make up for that this year.“ Williams was right. The first-seeded Aggies held off defending champion UC Irvine to win the tournament by seven strokes, claiming UC Davis‘ first-ever Big West title in the process on Tuesday. The Aggies were the only team to break par, shooting a 3-under 861 – including a tournament-low 284 in the final round.
“It’s about time,” Williams said. “It was nice to redeem ourselves this year. We had a lot of fun today and we’re really going to enjoy this win.”
UC Davis was led by sophomore Austin Graham and senior Ramie Sprinkling. The duo was tied for first place at the end of regulation. Graham held off Sprinkling in a playoff for the individual title.
“We had no idea they were that close,” Williams said. “We were focusing so much on the team that we did not realize that they were tied until the end. … They played great golf. It’s pretty rare that a team has the gold and silver medal finishers.“
The win was Graham’s third tournament title of the year. The Aggies also had strong contributions from junior Brent Booth and senior Nate Pistacchio, who finished seventh and 22nd, respectively.
The Big West announced its season awards following the tournament. Graham, Sprinkling and Pistacchio were all named first-team All-Big West.
“They work hard and are very deserving,” Williams said.
Williams was also recognized for leading UC Davis to its best season in school history, as he was named Big West Coach of the Year. The Aggies have 11 top-10 performances in 12 tournaments, finishing in the top two seven times. They’re currently ranked No. 28 in the country.
The Aggies will now prepare for their inaugural trip to the NCAA Championships. The tournament starts its regional competition on May 14 at six different sites. The field will be announced in early May.
“We’ll have to wait and see where we are going to play, but we we’ll be ready,” Williams said. “We are going into this tournament with a lot of confidence. Today we proved that we are one of the best teams in the country.“
KYLE HYLAND can be reached at email@example.com.