After consecutive top-three finishes at the Folino Invitational and the Del Walker Invitational, the LMU men’s golf team looked to carry the momentum into this week’s Sacramento State Invitational hosted by the Old Spaghetti Factory. The Lions fell short of matching their previous two tournament appearances with an 8th-place finish, posting a 293 in the final round.
Junior Tyler Torano was the top finisher for the Lions, tying for 12th with five other golfers at 1-over-par 217. He shot under-par on rounds one and three, but a 4-over-par on the second round dropped him out of contention.
“Overall my game wasn’t that bad, but it definitely wasn’t my A game,” Torano said. “It showed what I needed to work on for the next few tournaments and I’m going to use that and get better. Even though I didn’t play my best, I was still able to put together some good rounds.”
Torano, who was named WCC Golfer of the Month for February, fell to the 27th spot after the second round, but a 2-under 70 in the final round moved him back into the top 15.
Freshman Connor Campbell finished closest to Torano with a 5-over 221. Campbell shot a 2-under-par 70 in the first round, but shot a 75 and 76 in the final two rounds.
“The first round I struck the ball really well and I was making a lot of birdies,” Campbell said. “Each round I made too many stupid mistakes that I normally wouldn’t make and that turned out to be the difference for me in the tournament.”
Campbell fell 19 spots into a seven-way tie for 30th in the final round. Despite the finish, it is his best overall performance he has turned in this year.
“I’m starting to play better than I was earlier in the year,” he said. “Although I didn’t do too well, this is the best tournament I’ve played since I’ve been here.”
Senior Bryan Bergna finished seven places behind Campbell for a five-way tie for 37th. Bergna started the the final day in 31st place, but a 3-over 75 put him at a 7-over 223 for the tournament.
Senior Boris Stantchev’s 224 finished one stroke behind Bergna in a two-way tie for 42nd. Rounding out the Lions’ efforts was freshman Chase Nicolai who placed in a six-way tie for 54th at 12-over 228.
The two-day tournament, held at the Valley Hi Country Club in Elk Grove, Calif., featured 14 teams from all over the United States, including Chico State University, the University of South Carolina Upstate and the winner of the tournament, UC Santa Barbara.
The Lions have one more tune-up at the 33rd annual Anteater Invitational at the El Niguel Country Club on March 25-26 before the WCC Championships in April.
“The next tournament will allow me to build some good confidence and play good rounds,” Torano said. “I want to be able to improve with a good tournament and use that momentum into conference.”
Campbell knows he can improve before conference play begins.
“I’m looking to trying and finish off with a good tournament. I want to build off of my first round score [of 70],” he said. “Keeping the momentum going into conference is important and hopefully I can play well there and finish in the top 10.”
The Lions are confident they can string together their best rounds in the final weeks of the season and place well at the conference championships.
“Mentally, we know that we’re able to play well. We need to trust that we can hang in with the big teams in conference like St. Mary’s [College],” Torano said. “I know we can play well. We just need to get some good practice rounds in next week.”