The groundhog didn’t see his shadow on Feb. 2, which means that spring is coming early this year. In fortuitous timing, the men’s golf team will kick off its spring season tomorrow at the Farms Collegiate Invitational hosted by the University of San Diego (USD) in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. The two-day tournament will feature schools including UC Santa Barbara, Santa Clara University, Western Illinois University, Fresno State University and UC Riverside.
“I’d say our season is going OK,” senior Bryan Bergna said. “The fall was just average; we’re hoping to have a better spring. We’ve been practicing really hard and just getting ready for the next few tournaments coming up.”
The Lions wrapped up their fall season at the Bill Cullum Invitational on Oct. 22 and 23 at the Wood Ranch Golf Club in Simi Valley, Calif., finishing ninth out of 20. They closed with a total score of 891, which put them only two strokes behind Boise State University and four behind Southern Utah University. USD, the hosts of the Farms Invite, won the tournament with a low score of 850.
This semester, LMU will compete in five tournaments in California including the Farms Invite, Folino Inviational Golf Tournament, Del Walker Invite, Sac. St. Intercollegiate Cup and Anteater Invite. To finish the season, on April 15-17 they will head to the three-day West Coast Conference Championships in Bremerton, WA.
The Lions will compete at the Farms course tomorrow, which has a par-72. Senior Eduardo Chavez said that the Lions’ focus will not be on other teams, but their own game.
“In golf, you don’t really play against the other team – you just play against the course,” Chavez said.
LMU has competed in this tournament in previous years, but not recently.
“This is our first time in two years going back to this tournament, so we’ll see how everything plays out,” junior Tyler Torano said.
Torano said that he expects stand-out senior Boris Stantchev to play a big role in the tournament this week. Stantchev has been playing on the team since his freshman year. According to LMU Athletics, he has played 81 rounds of golf in 28 career events while shooting 14 rounds under par.
“He’s been playing really well lately,” Torano said. “We’re expecting good things from him, and really low scores. Hopefully he comes through this week and helps us out.”
Torano is a Chula Vista, Calif. native and is familiar with the course at the Farms Invite.
“It’ll be nice going home and playing somewhere locally where my parents can watch and all that stuff, so it’s pretty cool,” Torano said. “I grew up around the course.”
Based off their play from the fall season, Chavez said that he thinks the Lions have some areas that they can work on.
“I think as a team, we can really improve on our small game,” Chavez said. “Small game is the short game around the green, so like chipping and putting. I think that’s where we can really improve.”
Chavez also said that the Lions’ biggest competition tomorrow and Tuesday will be St. Mary’s College.
“In the past, they’ve beat us quite a bit so this year, we have a team that can really compete with them and we can give them a run,” Chavez said. “They’re the favored team in the conference, so if we can beat them then I think we can do really well.”
The Farms Invite tournament begins today with 36 holes starting at 8:15 a.m. On Tuesday, the last 18 holes will be played. The Lions’ next tournament will take place on Feb. 17-19 at the Folino Invite in Industry Hills, Calif.
“I’m looking forward to the great courses we’re going to play this semester,” Chavez said. “We’re playing some really nice courses this semester, starting at the Farm’s Invite.”