It was the tale of two days for the Loyola Marymount men's golf team at its season-opening tournament. The first was a nightmare, as the Lions ended rounds one and two in last place out of 17 teams at the St. Mary's College Invitational. The second day, with the third and final round, was pure magic as the team shot a school record 274 to vault into the top 10.
It was the single best round in school history, as well as the best round registered by any team during the competition, which was held Monday and Tuesday at Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif.
The Lions finished in a tie for ninth place with Long Beach State. The University of San Francisco, a WCC conference rival, won the tournament with an aggregate score of 855, 21 strokes ahead of LMU. Santa Clara, another WCC foe, finished in sole possession of eighth place, one stroke ahead of the Lions.
"We knew we were one of the better teams going into this tournament, but that incident on the first day cost us," said senior Brian Locke, who finished tied for 18th.
It was the 32nd time in Locke's career that he finished in the top 20, a program best.
That incident Locke spoke of involved sophomore John Lim, who was LMU's top finisher last year at this same tournament. He was disqualified in the first round for inadvertently playing the wrong ball. According to Locke, Lim hit the ball of teammate Greg Moss that was left in the same area after a practice round from the day before. Lim turned in a career-best 67 on Tuesday, seven strokes better than his second round, to help the Lions with their huge turnaround.
Locke said, "Being in last after the first day, we knew we had to change our attitude, and that's what ended up happening."
The Lions were led by local product Jake Sarnoff, a freshman from Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, whose three-round total of 216 left him in a tie for 15th on the individual leaderboard.
This was the fourth consecutive year that a freshman has led the Lions in the team's first tournament of the year.
Domingo Jojola of USF was the tournament's medalist, shooting a six-under 207, and leading his team to victory along the way.
LMU has two weeks off before its next tournament, The Del Walker Intercollegiate, which will be hosted by Long Beach State at the Virginia Country Club. The event will take place on Oct. 16 and 17.