Come Sunday, the UCLA men’s golf team will have had nearly a month of practice to improve from its last tournament. And since the Bruins finished in second place at their first and only tournament of the season, improvement for them means nothing short of victory.
The No. 1 Bruins will head to Atlanta, Ga., on Sunday for the U.S. Collegiate Championship hosted by No. 13 Georgia Tech.
The tournament, which runs for three days and features a five-count-four scoring format, will be played at the Golf Club of Georgia.
This is the first time UCLA has entered a tournament as the top-ranked team in the nation since the 2004 season.
Traveling for the Bruins are freshman Patrick Cantlay, sophomores Pontus Widegren and Mario Clemens and juniors Gregor Main and Alex Shi Yup Kim.
This year’s roster is loaded with so much potential that it is possible for any of these golfers to lead the team.
Currently, Widegren is the No. 2 golfer in the nation after getting off to a hot start at the NCAA Preview in September. With an individual score of 214 (-2), Widegren won the tournament and helped UCLA capture second place as a team.
Cantlay, who has competed in just one collegiate tournament, is ranked No. 36 in the nation.
Immediately following Cantlay in the rankings is No. 37 Main, who is perhaps UCLA’s most consistent golfer.
These players will have to compete against several of the top teams in the country, as No. 14 Texas A&M, No. 17 California and No. 20 Virginia will all be on hand, attempting to give UCLA a run for its money.
UCLA has played in the U.S. Collegiate Championship three of the last four years and has recorded two seventh-place finishes and a second-place finish. In 2009, then-senior Erik Flores won the event with a score of 212 (-4).