Feb. 4, 2005
The eighth-ranked UCLA men's golf team begins the 2005 spring season with a pair of tournaments next week. The UCLA Gold Team travels to Hawaii for the TaylorMade Big Island Classic and the Blue Team visits Moorpark, CA for the Carson Daly Invitational.
In the last two years, the Bruins have won and finished second at the TaylorMade event, which is hosted by Hawaii-Hilo University at the Waikoloa Resort.
"We have played well in Hawaii the last couple of years," said Head Coach O.D. Vincent. "Last year we finished second and it came down to the last hole with Georgia Tech."
Last year, the Bruins were edged by one stroke by the Yellowjackets, who enter the tournament this year ranked No.2 by GolfWeek.
"We will be traveling only one player this year who has visited the state of Hawaii," said Vincent. "So the challenge for us will be to find the right balance of enjoyment, practice, and competition."
One senior, three sophomores and one freshman will make the trip to Hawaii.
Senior John Poucher led the Bruins in scoring average during the fall schedule (73.2) and recorded four Top 20 finishes. He enters the TaylorMade as the team's top-ranked player at No. 50.
Sophomore Peter Campbell recorded two Top 10 finishes, including a victory at the Gold Rush, UCLA's opening event.
Sophomore Chris Heintz earned the No.1 spot in qualifying after recorded one Top 20 finish in the fall.
Second-year letterman Joakim Renstrom logged 14 rounds in the fall and recorded a pair of Top 10 finishes. He qualified at No.5 for this trip.
Freshman Daniel Im finished eighth at The Prestige and will play at No.4 in Hawaii.
The Bruin Blue Team will feature four freshmen competing as a four-count-four team.
"This is a course (Rustic Canyon CC) on which they have played and practiced, so they should be comfortable with it," said Vincent.
Last year's Blue Team won this event and two others during the season.
"The Blue Team has not won an event this year," said the head coach. "So the pressure is on."
In the fall, Christianson finished third at the Santa Clara Invitational, Leslie tied for sixth at the Bill Cullum Intercollegiates, Chappell tied for eighth at the Gold Rush and Marshall tied for 24th at the SCU Invitational.