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‘End of an era’: UCLA men’s golf to play final Pac-12 regular season tournament

Graduate student Mason Greene follows through on his swing. The Thunderbird Collegiate marks his last regular season tournament as a Bruin. (Jeremy Chen/Photo editor)

Men's Golf

Papago Golf Course

Friday-Saturday

Phoenix

By Owen Pesenhofer

April 11, 2024 11:21 a.m.

This post was updated April 11 at 9:34 p.m. 

All good things must come to an end.

But there is still time to write a final chapter in the book of the 2024 season for graduate student Mason Greene and his teammates.

“It’s pretty sad that it’s coming to an end,” Greene said. “But I’m more just excited that I’ve had this opportunity, and that I’m going to get to use it to continue my golf career.”

UCLA men’s golf will head southwest to Arizona to compete in the Thunderbird Collegiate on Friday and Saturday. It also marks the Bruins’ last event before the Pac-12 championships, which will be the last of its kind before the conference’s contraction at the end of the campaign.

This tournament gives the Bruins a chance to test themselves before the postseason, as the NCAA tournament could be on the docket after the culmination of Pac-12 play.

“We are pretty confident on how we’re looking into the postseason,” said junior Pablo Ereño. “I think we have a really great team that is always pushing each other to become better.”

Ereño has notched consecutive top-10 finishes in the last three tournaments, including tying for sixth at The Goodwin. Meanwhile, junior Omar Morales is coming off of a 10th place finish at that same event, while also bringing in professional experience he picked up over the summer at the 123rd United States Open.

Coach Armen Kirakossian said he knows his top golfers are ready to perform. For the Thunderbird Collegiate, he is looking for his other players to step up.

“I am hoping to see our four and five guys at a little bit of a higher level,” Kirakossian said. “I’d love to see (freshman) Luciano Conlan have a good finish. I’d love to see Mason Greene have a good finish, so they can start building some confidence.”

As for Greene, who has been a member of the team since 2019, the Thunderbird Collegiate foreshadows the end of an era.

“I’m going to be very appreciative of all the things UCLA has done for me and my future,” Greene said. “I just hope that I’ll be able to give back and contribute.”

But his time at UCLA, just like the Bruins’ long tenure in the Pac-12, is not yet finished. The Thunderbird Collegiate gives the Bruins an opportunity to not only build on a season that has seen major improvements under Kirakossian, including three top-five finishes, but to also push for a conference title and a berth in the national tournament.

“They can compete with anybody out there and anybody in our conference,” Kirakossian said.

For golfers like Greene, this tournament and this team mean so much more. While the 2024 season nears its conclusion, the Bruins still have every chance to write their own end to a story in what they hope will be a fairytale ending.

“I’ve just been trying to soak it all in,” Greene said.

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