Awkward, nervous, inexperienced and excitable – stereotyping freshmen will always be a favored pastime of the seasoned upperclassmen, many of whom forget their own wide eyes and youthful exhilaration.
But when it comes to the No. 5 UCLA men’s golf team, these time-honored designations simply don’t apply.
Look no further than freshman Jonathan Garrick, who, in his first season of collegiate competition, finds himself entrenched in a starting lineup composed of All-Americans and future professionals.
“I had a lot of confidence in myself. I knew that starting would be easy by no means. I believe we have the deepest team in college golf but I knew I could be put in the lineup if I played my game,” Garrick said.
This weekend, Garrick and his fellow Bruins will take their talents to the Pasatiempo golf course in Santa Cruz, Calif., to compete in the Western Intercollegiate.
“It’s an unbelievable golf course. It’s an incredibly fun course to play and the guys are really enjoy going up there. I want to see our guys relax and have a good practice round, and make sure they learn between holes. This is the same designer as the Augusta National, so the green complexes will be very tough,” said coach Derek Freeman.
Similar to last weekend’s Aggie Invitational, UCLA must endure a 54-hole event. However, unlike College Station’s Traditions Golf Course, Pasatiempo serves as familiar stomping grounds for several Bruins.
“I live about 45 minutes away so I’ve played there four to five times. Both my parents and my siblings will be out there. It’s kind of like a home event for me. There’s a lot of history behind the golf course. Playing in a place like Pasatiempo is pretty special as a collegiate golfer,” Garrick said.
In addition, Pasatiempo is familiar to UCLA’s upperclassmen, as the Bruins have competed in Santa Cruz each of the last three seasons.
“It gives me a good deal of confidence. I’ve seen the course in different types of weather. It’s definitely a tricky course, but playing it three years in row is definitely going to help me. I expect to play well,” senior Pontus Widegren said.
Whether young or old, the Bruins look to capitalize upon their shared knowledge of the course as they pursue their first tournament victory since early February.
As he comes into his own as a collegiate golfer, Garrick understands the challenge that lies ahead and the ways in which seniors such as Widegren and Pedro Figueiredo can enhance his game.
“I’ve learned a lot from them; not only because they are seniors and All-Americans, but also because they are international players,” Garrick said. “They bring a whole range of shots from overseas that I’d never seen before. They see the game in ways I’ve never thought of and I’ve definitely taken note of that and learned from it.”