Entering this weekend’s men’s golf event, it was safe to say UC Davis was an underdog.
The Aggies were matched up against national powerhouses like California, Southern California, Arizona State and Brigham Young.
Despite the stiff competition, UC Davis topped all of those schools.
From Feb. 28 to March 1 at the USC Collegiate Invitational in Los Angeles, the Aggies finished fifth.
Coach Cy Williams was incredibly proud of his team’s performance. He also expressed his thoughts on the change in team morale from the fifth-place finish.
“[Team morale] better be [pretty good],” Williams said. “That was a great event for us and it always feels good to [beat] Cal.”
Junior El Macero, Calif. native Tyler Raber was named Big West Golfer of the Month after his performance. He shot a season-low 67 in the final round to boost the Aggies to a fifth-place finish behind San Diego State, UCLA, Oregon and Stanford.
Freshman Daniel Covrig finished tied for 24th at 4-over 217, Austin Graham tied for 40th at 8-over, Andrew Haggen tied for 44th at 9-over and Josh Granger finished at 12-over to tie for 51st.
With the strong performance, the Aggies moved up to No. 50 in the Golfstat rankings. Williams suspects they will move up further in the Golfweek rankings when they are released.
Oregon and Stanford made the final eight in last year’s NCAA Championship tournament and, according to Williams, the Aggies were ahead of them until the last nine holes of last week’s event.
Williams was also proud of the total team effort.
“Everyone contributed,” he said. “Covrig had a breakout event and [Raber] was a superstar. I think every match is critical and this shows that we can compete with and beat the best teams in the country.”
The Aggies will return to the links March 21 and 22 in Eugene, Ore. for the Oregon Duck Invitational. Williams is filled with determination for the upcoming event.
“Our goal is to always be prepared and to compete as hard as we can. We beat a lot of great teams, which shows that we can accomplish great things if we continue to work hard and get better.”
RON HOOPER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.