The Aggies needed to win the Big West Conference in order to advance to the NCAA Regional Championships.
Despite the fact that UC Davis was without the services of star junior Austin Graham, it still felt it could compete for a chance to keep the season alive.
Unfortunately for the Aggies, they headed home from Mission Viejo, Calif. dissatisfied.
The Aggies finished sixth in a field of nine teams that took the course at Mission Viejo Country Club. It was not the finish they were looking for.
At the end of the tournament, UC Davis found itself 37 strokes behind UC Irvine, who took home the title.
“We’re disappointed,” said coach Cy Williams. “We weren’t good enough. It’s that simple.”
UC Davis is not using the absence of Graham as an excuse, though.
“It had no effect on our team,” Williams said. “We have other good players. They have played better earlier this year and I know what they’re capable of.”
One of the few bright spots for UC Davis was the play of freshman Andrew Haggan.
The Walnut Creek, Calif. native bounced back after a quadruple-bogey on the fifth hole in his first round by shooting just 5-over for the tournament, the best of any Aggie. He ended in a tie for sixth, 12 strokes behind leader John Chin of UC Irvine.
“It was rough that he took an eight on one of the easiest holes on the course,” Williams said. “Without that one very bad score he would have taken second. It was good that the big number didn’t faze him though. He competed really well. I’m proud of the way he played.”
It was the first time this year that Haggan finished in the top 10 of a tournament. He shot 18 birdies and had the best single round of any UC Davis golfer, shooting even-par on the final day.
Outside of Haggan, the Aggies did not have one golfer finish in the top 25.
Sophomore Tim Honeycutt finished in a tie for 26th, shooting 14-over for the tournament. He had the best first round score for UC Davis, shooting a 2-over.
Tyler Raber and Brent Booth tied for 28th with a 16-over.
Raber fell victim to three double bogeys in his first round and a triple bogey in his final round.
The Big West Championship will most likely mark the end of the collegiate career of Booth, who shot eight birdies but also had four double bogeys for the tournament.
Graham’s replacement Geoff Hunt shot 17-over and tied for 30th in his collegiate debut.
The Aggies plan to make this tournament a learning experience for next year as the young players know that this was not up to their standards.
“We have to get better,” Williams said. “Our result at this tournament is not acceptable. We’re not going to let this happen again.”
TREVOR CRAMER can be reached at email@example.com.