UCLA golfers represent home countries at international tournaments
UCLA women’s golf rising redshirt sophomore Alessia Nobilio swings from the tee box. Nobilio tied for 23rd at the European Ladies’ Amateur Championship. (Courtesy of the European Golf Association)
By Lauryn Wang
July 29, 2022 12:30 p.m.
For some Bruins, the offseason doesn’t mean time off.
International members of the UCLA women’s and men’s golf teams recently represented their home countries in the European Ladies’ Amateur Championship and the FISU World University Golf Championships, respectively, from July 20 to July 23.
Former UCLA women’s golfer Emma Spitz and rising redshirt sophomore Alessia Nobilio both notched top-25 finishes in the European Ladies’ Amateur Championship at Golf de Saint-Germain in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France. Spitz, representing Austria, finished the tournament tied for ninth with a 10-under 278, and Nobilio, representing Italy, posted a 7-under 281 to tie for 23rd.
Spitz and Nobilio competed in the European Ladies’ Amateur Championship last year, but both improved their performances this time around. In 2021, Spitz missed the cut after day three, while Nobilio finished in a tie for 56th.
On the men’s side, rising sophomore Pablo Ereño Perez and rising redshirt junior Alvaro Muller assisted Spain to a 12-under performance and a top-five finish at the FISU World University Golf Championships in Torino, Italy, the same weekend.
Individually, Ereño Perez opened and closed the four-day tournament with a pair of 5-under 67 performances to finish eighth at 9-under 279 for the tournament, while Muller posted a 7-over 295 to tie for 26th.
Ereño Perez said his goal leading up to the tournament was to take home first place as a reward for the work he’s put into his game throughout the summer.
“I’ve been training a lot this last month for this tournament because I wanted to win it,” Ereño Perez said.
Nobilio and Ereño Perez went low on the first day of their respective tournaments, posting 67s to earn spots atop the leaderboard. Nobilio was tied for the lead after day one, and Ereño Perez sat in second.
Both golfers said being in contention was a healthy challenge, and Nobilio added she was very satisfied with the tournament’s results, especially considering a tough individual finish in the postseason and the caliber of the field at the European Ladies’ Amateur Championship.
“I would say the last couple months in LA were pretty tough for me,” Nobilio said. “It was nice to be back in contention and finally score a very low round. … I didn’t play that well in the next three days, but I think it was a good tournament for what I was going through … in one of the biggest events we have in Europe, so I’m happy about it.”
Ereño Perez said it was a special opportunity to represent Spain and do so on a big stage, an experience that will translate well to high-pressure tournaments during UCLA’s season.
“It feels like every tournament you play for Spain is important because you’re doing something for your country, not only for yourself,” Ereño Perez said. “I also learned about how my game feels playing in really important tournaments like a world championship. … This season in Westwood will be better than last year in part because of the tournament.”
Both Nobilio and Ereño Perez said the European courses are narrower with smaller and slower greens, requiring different strategies and some level of adjustment following the season in the United States. Nobilio added that being on home turf with access to her home coaches and some familiar faces helped her in that adjustment process.
“It was a really nice experience … having the people I care about by my side,” Nobilio said. “My coach was caddying for me which was really nice. … Alicia, our assistant coach (associate head coach Alicia Um Holmes), was there too, and she looked at my swing, and she was like, ‘Oh yeah I can see some improvement,’ so it was nice to have some feedback from her.”
With solid finishes in two high-profile international tournaments under their belts, Ereño Perez and Nobilio will be moving back to Westwood soon to prepare for the start of the regular season.
“I can’t wait to be back and start practicing again with the team,” Nobilio said. “I’m talking with my teammates obviously, and I know we’re working very hard, and we really care about the upcoming season. I’m expecting big things.”