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GOLF | Gaels Place Second At Saint Mary's Invitational

SEASIDE, Calif. -- A young Saint Mary's golf team got an idea of what the upcoming season may hold and, in the process, brought home a solid result as the Gaels wrapped up their own three-day tournament by placing second at the Saint Mary's Invitational at Bayonet and Black Horse Golf Course.

Saint Mary's finished with a total team score of 1-over par 865, one shot off the top score of even-par 864 turned in by fellow West Coast Conference competitor San Diego. The Toreros closed the tournament with a final day round of 289, six shots lower than the Gaels.

San Diego also captured medalist honors for the second consecutive year as Mathias Dahl carded an even-par 72 on Tuesday to finish the tournament at 7-under 209. San Francisco's Jobim Carlos was next at minus-6 while Pacific's Matt Lee rounded out the top three at minus-5. Two Gaels finished in the top five individually, with Jonathan De Los Reyes tying for fourth at 3-under and Maclayne Marr finishing in a tie for seventh at minus-2.

Playing the Bayonet course for the second time in three rounds, competitors found the weather perfect but scoring tough on Tuesday. Only three golfers finished in the 60s, and only five of the eventual top 20 finished the final round under par.

That challenging setup meant that even par was certainly a solid score and Saint Mary's got just that from freshman Perry Cohen. Playing his first collegiate tournament, Cohen carded a final round 72 left him in a tie for 14th that also included fellow Gaels freshman Pavan Sagoo.

Cohen's play was indicative of one of the main takeaways from the tournament for the Gaels, who gave five freshmen their first collegiate tournament experience. Connor Blick, James Trevino and Roman Aragon also made their debuts as individual entrants. All five had moments of brilliance, and gained valuable experience in their first tournament.

"What you really start to see is they start to settle in, get comfortable and feel like they belong out here," Saint Mary's coach Scott Hardy said. "It's only three rounds of golf but they've been out here four days now. Being at a golf tournament becomes less of a big deal. They start to know the other players and start to fill in, so I think that was big. We had a freshman play a really solid round of even-par today. Our best round was out of a freshman. In the final round, you're trying to win a tournament and a freshman plays your best round. I was really impressed."

Though the gap on the scoreboard narrowed midway through the round, Saint Mary's maintained a lead nearly the entire day. San Diego closed with a flurry, taking particular advantage of No. 18 by going a combined minus-3 on the hole Tuesday. That late charge got the best of the Gaels, who played the 18th to a combined even-par.

"I think we got a lot of experience for our young players," Hardy said. "We have a young team and we led the entire tournament until basically the last hole, which is a huge disappointment for me and the team but at the same time it's the first tournament of the season and it's a chance to build and get better."

The Gaels will be back in action next week when they head to Bremerton, Wash. to compete in the Husky Invitational at Gold Mountain Golf Club. Gold Mountain has hosted the last two WCC Championships.



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