After thinking he might have driven his ball out of bounds, senior Greg Moss was relieved to find it nestled in the rough and safely in play. His recovery shot was anything but as he pushed this one out of bounds and eventually concluded the hole with a four-putt for a quintuple-bogey nine. It was only his fourth hole of the spring season's first tournament. That was as bad as things got for Moss during the USC Collegiate Invitational, but unfortunately for the Lions, there would be a few more big numbers than they had hoped for.
The tournament, played on Monday and Tuesday at the North Ranch Country Club in Westlake Village, featured an elite field of college golf's superpowers, and LMU finished in 13th place out of 13 teams.
Moss, however, turned in a consistent three-round effort of 7-over par that left him in a tie for 30th out of 79 players. Bouncing back from the nightmare 14th hole, he began play on Monday at the 10th hole. Moss somehow finished the first round with a 73, before posting another 73 in the second and a 74 in the final round.
'That hole was a fluke, and to be honest it was almost kind of funny. I had people there watching me, but I wasn't going to let them down. I knew I had been playing well lately, so I just had to forget about that one,' Moss said.
Trailing Moss were freshman Jake Sarnoff and sophomore John Lim, who both finished 13-over and in a tie for 51st.
Noticeably absent from the top of the LMU leaderboard was senior Brian Locke, the most decorated golfer in program history and a two-time WCC Individual Champion. He was fourth on the team and tied for 70th overall with a score of 19-over.
'Brian won't play like that again. It was just a rough couple of days for a few us,' said Moss.
Stanford set a pace none of the other schools could follow, taking the team title with an aggregate score of 13-under, 10 shots ahead of second place BYU. UC Berkeley rounded out the top-three. The Cardinal was led by Steve Ziegler, whose final-round 65 helped him capture the individual crown by one stroke over Pepperdine's Andrew Putnam.
LMU was the only school present ranked outside of the nation's top-100, and the USC Collegiate was certainly the sternest competition the team will face until the WCC Championships.'
The Lions will look to their leader as they attempt to bounce back next week at the Braveheart Classic hosted by UC Riverside.
'Brian [Locke] leads us, and when he plays well, we'll always have a shot to win. Jake [Sarnoff] and John [Lim] are great young talents, so there's nowhere for us to go but up,' said Moss.
Having already experienced the highs and lows himself, Moss and the Lions are ready to forget about the big number.