Thursday, May 24

UCLA men’s golf finishes second at Pac-12 Championship

Junior Anton Arboleda finished third overall at the Pac-12 men’s golf championship this week.

Junior Anton Arboleda finished third overall at the Pac-12 men’s golf championship this week. Daily Bruin file photo / Daily Bruin

Men's golf

UCLA +15

During the past six months, golf has taken them to Georgia, Hawaii, Texas, Arizona and Nevada.

But on Wednesday, the fifth-ranked Bruins competed a hop, skip and a jump away from their Westwood dorms and apartments, crossing Wilshire Boulevard to compete for the Pac-12 men’s golf championship at the Los Angeles Country Club.

“We joked about it,” freshman Jonathan Garrick said.

“We literally drove across the street. It was really easy for us. We ate at the same restaurants that we visit on a weekly basis. It was an easy transition.”

The Bruins were well prepared for the Los Angeles Country Club’s traps and challenges, having played weekly rounds at the course since the beginning of the season.

“It’s one of the best courses in the world and one of the most exclusive clubs in Southern California,” said junior Anton Arboleda.

“The greens and the conditions of the course were probably the best I’ve played in my college career. On top of that, it was in our backyard, so it was pretty special.”

Against a formidable field of Pac-12 foes, UCLA finished in second place, nine strokes behind tournament champion California and 17 shots ahead of third-place Washington.

The Bruins benefited from strong performances from Arboleda 278 (-2), Garrick 279 (-1), and senior Pontus Widegren 282 (+2), positives they will look to build upon as they prepare to compete in the NCAA regional tournament.

“I feel like I can play with the best college players in the nation,” Garrick said.

“I had the opportunity to play with the champion (Max Homa) the last 36 holes and the world’s No. 1 amateur (Chris Williams). I learned a lot from them and got to match my game side-by-side. What I saw was pretty encouraging.”

One major obstacle for UCLA will be top-ranked California, who found a way to beat the Bruins on their home course.

“We’ve had some tough losses,” Arboleda said.

“Cal has played unbelievably this year and what they’re doing is pretty special. Unfortunately we’ve been on the other end of it a couple of times.”

However, Arboleda, who took third-place honors among individuals, remains confident in the talent surrounding him.

“Definitely, our best golf is ahead of us,” Arboleda said.

“Washington was 17 shots behind us and we were nine behind Cal, so hats off to them, they played really well. But I think that if we play the golf we’re capable of playing we’ll have a good chance of taking them down.”

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