Golf makes strides in conference

Campus Times
April 16, 2004

by Matt Paulson
Special to the Campus Times

With victories this week over conference-titan University of Redlands and Claremont, the University of La Verne golf team took one step closer to a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title.

With two 18-hole conference tournaments and one 36-hole marathon left, this week’s victories place the Leopards in a tie for first place with the Bulldogs; both are 6-1.

“(The wins) give us a very good chance of winning the conference, which we haven’t done in a long time,” said sophomore Doug Green of the Leopards, whose only conference loss came on an early season miscue against Pomona-Pitzer.

However, in the two 18-hole matches, which will be played at Red Hill Country Club and Brookside Golf Club, points increase to eight for a win, seven for second place, six for third, etc. In the final 36-hole match of the year, which will be played at Los Serranos in Chino Hills, points double to 16 for first, 14 for second, etc, raising the stakes dramatically.

On a course like Los Serranos, which has two 18-hole tracks the teams will play, head coach Rex Huigens is uneasy about La Verne walking away with a win on the pivotal final day of conference play.

“Both those courses are so wide open, anybody could do well there,” he said. “A guy can be spraying the ball out there and still keep it in play.”

In conference action against Claremont Wednesday at Sierra La Verne, ULV fired a team total of 291 to Claremont’s 299.

Freshman Nathan Logan led the Leopard way with a 1-under-par 70 (36-34) to medal in the dual match.

“I knew (Logan) was a good player, but he’s actually better than I thought,” Huigens said. “He’s been a pleasant surprise.”

Joey Murray followed with a 72 (35-37); Brad Booher came in with a 74 (37-37), and Joe Skovron rounded out the top four with a 75 (38-37) for a team total of 291.

La Verne entered the match with Claremont still steaming after a win over Redlands Monday at home. The Leopards, anchored by consistency, shot another team total of 291 for a resounding 14-stroke victory over the two-time defending conference champion and previously unbeaten Bulldogs.

“It was a must-win, and we did,” Huigens said. “If we had any chance for conference, we had to beat Redlands.”

Skovron went out with a mundane 37, but rebounded with a back-nine 33 to shoot a 1-under-par 70 at ULV’s home track, which was good enough for the medal.

Logan shot a 72, while Murray, a solid ULV contributor of late who was deemed by Huigens as the best overall player on the ULV golf team this season, once again did his part with a 73.

Over spring break, the Leopards traveled to Teravista Golf Club in Round Rock, Texas for the District 6 Invitational to continue a golf-saturated spring. Led by – guess who – Murray, who finished fourth individually with a two-round total of 146, ULV finished second in the 12-team, District 6-rich field with a team total of 602 (305-297).

Relatively silent this season, Andrew Garcia followed with a 149, which was good enough for seventh place individually.

The second place finish helped cement ULV as one of the top teams in District 6 this season. To be secured a spot in the national tournament, ULV must be in the top three in the district, which includes Division III schools in Texas, Washington, Oregon and California.

The Leopards are presently ranked with Redlands as one of the top two teams in the District, Huigens said. If they continue their current level of play, a berth to nationals should be a foregone conclusion for the Leopards.

“It’s our place to lose right now,” Huigens said.