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Freshman victory drives UCLA men’s golf to 3rd-place tournament finish

Freshman Luke Powell poses with his trophy after winning the Hamptons Intercollegiate on Tuesday. (Courtesy of UCLA Athletics)

MEN'S GOLF

Hamptons Intercollegiate

Third place (-20, 844)

By Joseph Crosby

Oct. 3, 2023 9:43 p.m.

Luke Powell is no stranger to winning.

Mere months ago, the freshman claimed the CIF Southern Section Individual Regional title as well as the CIF State Championship in his final year of high school.

And in his second-ever collegiate tournament, the Laguna Niguel local won once again.

Headlined by Powell’s 17-under 199 winning performance, UCLA men’s golf surged to a third-place finish at the Hamptons Intercollegiate in East Hampton, New York, wrapping up the 54-hole, two-day tournament with a 20-under 844 outing. UCLA finished just four strokes behind the tournament winners – No. 12 Alabama – and one behind second-place No. 23 Ohio State.

After opening his tournament with an 8-under 64 – tied for the best performance by a freshman in program history – Powell entered Tuesday’s final round trailing Alabama’s Nick Dunlap by two strokes.

And through the first 14 holes, his eventual victory still wasn’t assured.

Powell birdied both holes one and 11, working in conjunction with Dunlap’s bogey on the third hole and birdie on the fifth, leaving the duo tied entering the final third of the day.

But on hole 15, Dunlap’s hopes of winning came crashing down.

Powell birdied holes 15 and 16 – a feat he had accomplished in each of the previous two rounds – to earn a three-stroke lead after Dunlap’s bogey on 15.

Even with a pair of birdies on the final two holes of the day, Dunlap couldn’t overcome the deficit, giving Powell a historic win.

The freshman’s 17-under par mark is the second-best ever by a Bruin during a 54-hole tournament, while his score of 199 is the best since Pontus Widegren shot an 18-under 198 in 2012.

Powell wasn’t the only UCLA golfer to find his way into the top 10, with junior Omar Morales tying for fifth at 5-under 211 while playing as an individual.

Sophomore Kyle An and junior Pablo Ereño rounded out the team’s under par finishers, as the duo clocked in at 3-under 213 and 1-under 215, good for 11th and 13th places, respectively.

The final two members of UCLA’s contingent – graduate student Mason Greene and freshman Luciano Conlan – also finished two strokes apart. Greene wrapped up his 2023 debut tied for 30th at 4-over 220, and Conlan posted a 6-over 222 to tie for 34th in his collegiate debut.

The Bruins’ overall performance is a 17-stroke improvement from their finish at the Husky Invitational and their best overall placement since winning the Lamkin San Diego Classic in March 2021.

UCLA has now completed half of its fall slate and will return to competition at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate Invitational on Oct. 13.

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Joseph Crosby
Crosby was the 2023-2024 Sports editor on the football, men's basketball and NIL beats. He was previously an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's golf, men's water polo and women's water polo beats and a contributor on the baseball and women's golf beats.
Crosby was the 2023-2024 Sports editor on the football, men's basketball and NIL beats. He was previously an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's golf, men's water polo and women's water polo beats and a contributor on the baseball and women's golf beats.
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