UCLA men’s golf used a final round surge to secure a fourth-place finish at the 23-team Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate on Sunday.
After shooting 1-over par and 2-over par in the first two rounds in Palm Desert, California, the No. 21 Bruins recorded a 19-under on day three. Only No. 15 California, which won the tournament with a combined 47-under, had a better third round.
Coach Derek Freeman said the first two rounds were frustrating, but he was happy with UCLA’s performance Sunday.
“I think the guys just got a little bit more focused, and understood that there’s an opportunity out there for them to play well,” Freeman said Sunday. “This was a good step for us. Today was a great round.”
Senior Tyler Collier and junior Cole Madey led the way for UCLA, finishing ninth and tying for seventh respectively. Madey finished the tournament at 8-under par, and Collier’s 6-under par on day three gave him a combined 7-under.
Madey was under par each day of the tournament and finished six strokes shy of the individual winners.
“I struck the ball really nicely,” Madey said. “(We had) perfect weather and really good greens, so there were a lot of birdies to be made.”
Madey also said he struggled with putts, which kept him from the top of the leaderboard. Collier, meanwhile, said his short game was one reason why he was able to notch six birdies on Sunday’s back nine.
“I really just started to make a lot more putts than I had been making in the previous two rounds,” Collier said.
Madey and Collier were two of four Bruins who posted under-par scores in round three. Freshman Eddy Lai shot 3-under par to move him into a tie for 38th for the tournament, and sophomore Hidetoshi Yoshihara rebounded from a 10-over on day two to record a team-leading 7-under on day three.
But Freeman said even though UCLA will enjoy its round-three success, the Bruins will work hard this week to continue improving.
“We can play better than this,” Freeman said. “We’ve got to learn to not only just play one round of a three-round tournament. … Once we do that, then we’re going to be in really good shape, because this team has the ability to have a lot of success.”
The Bruins will be back in action Feb. 26. UCLA’s scoring team will compete at the Southwestern Invitational in Westlake Village, and individual Bruins will be in Santa Clarita, California, for the TMU Spring Invite.