Friday, April 20

Men’s golf takes fourth at Collegiate Masters

It’s a city of towering hotels, bright lights and sin; the perfect destination for a weekend getaway.
But it was business, not pleasure, that brought the No. 6 UCLA men’s golf team to the desert oasis of Las Vegas to compete in this weekend’s Collegiate Masters.
The event, hosted by UNLV, lived up to its billing, providing the collegiate competitors with a professional-grade experience at Southern Highlands Golf Course.
“This is one of the better tournaments I’ve played in. The way they set up the field and the way they set up the course reminds me of the US open. It’s awesome; it’s exactly what we’re looking for,” said senior Pontus Widegren. “You have to understand that it’s going to be a challenge, but you have to go into it with a good approach and a good mindset.”
The tournament allows players like Widegren, who plan to join the professional ranks at the conclusion of their senior campaigns, to compete against the champions of tomorrow.
The event included three teams ranked in the top five of the country, hosting No. 1 California, No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 New Mexico. This season, it has been difficult for the Bruins to escape the shadow of the top-ranked Golden Bears, who won the tournament in dominant fashion.
“They’re a very good team and that makes you want to beat them even more, to prove that we are just as good as they are because we know we are,” Widegren said. “They are playing well when it matters and they’re the team to beat. We’re really looking forward to the rest of the spring and Pac-12 competition.”
UCLA finished in fourth place, 14 strokes behind Cal and one stroke behind Alabama and New Mexico. Room for improvement was a common sentiment throughout the team though it remains confident that it has the talent necessary to seize the No. 1 ranking from its Pac-12 rivals.
“They’re having a great year and they are a great team. What they’re doing is pretty special in college golf, but I feel like if we have a good week we can take them down for sure. We’re right there, especially if we eliminate some of the mistakes and some of the bad puts,” said junior Anton Arboleda.
Arboleda’s score of 217 (+1) was good for seventh-best among individual competitors, an effort that did not go unnoticed as the team sets its sights on the Anteater Invitational later this month.
“Apart from Anton, we didn’t have a great first day. We struggled finishing off rounds, we didn’t play the 18th hole particularly well and that cost us a lot,” Widegren said. “It wasn’t our sharpest golf. We know we’re a strong team with really good players. We can win any tournament we play in. We’ve just got to clean everything up, stay sharp and be more efficient.”
Compiled by Joseph Wilhelm, Bruin Sports contributor.

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