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GOLF | Carrete Leads Gaels on Day 1 at SMC Invitational

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — On an overcast and brisk day with temperatures in the low 60s, Poppy Hills Golf Course played long and breezy, especially in the back nine as the Saint Mary’s men’s golf team finished the first round tied for third.

Saint Mary’s shot 296 for a 12-over round. Gonzaga and Fresno State currently sit atop the leaderboard after shooting 290 (+6). Along with the Gaels- Santa Clara, Oregon State and Arizona also shot a 12-over 296. Fellow West Coast Conference member San Francisco is currently in seventh at 13-over par.

SMC got off to quick start, jumping to as much as a nine stroke lead over the field. Eduardo Carrete helped propel the strong start with an opening hole birdie. The freshman from Queretaro, Mexico eagled the par 5 ninth to make the turn at 2-under. He would shoot even-par in the back nine and tie for the lowest round of the day with the 2-under 69.

“Well I thought I played a pretty good round,” said Carrete. “Started off really well on the first hole, but the front nine was a bit of a roller-coaster with birdies and bogeys.” Carrete tallied his three birdies on the first, third and seventh hole on the front nine.

“Then I got an eagle on the ninth which got me rolling a bit,” explained Carrete. “The back nine started off well, but I struggled a bit on the last couple of holes. I finished with a birdie so it was a really good round for me.”

As a team, the Gaels struggled down the stretch with the wind picking up. Perry Cohen got off to a solid start, scoring 2-under in his front nine, but a 6-over in the back nine to finish a round of 75. Junior Roman Aragon also shot a 4-over 75.

Rounding out team play, Pavan Sagoo and Connor Blick each recorded a 77 (+6) to finish in the field t-53rd.

Playing as an individual, freshman Blake Hathcoat shot the lowest round among the individual competitors with an impressive 1-over 72 to be t-6th in the field. Senior Hunter Rappleye sits t-44th after an opening round 76. Jeff Inouye-Wong (78, +7) and Evan Peterson (82, +11) round out the first round scores for the Gaels.

Despite the lackluster finish, the Gaels understand that there is still a lot more golf to be played.

“Everyday we talk as a team and discuss what we think about the course,” stated Carrete. “We will talk about the course and see if there is a better way to attack an hole and give our opinion on the different strategy. You have to be smart on this course. With the pins we played today, they were really hard. If you are smart and know where to place the ball, then it makes it a lot easier to play with the slopes and everything.”

The Gaels will be paired with Gonzaga and Fresno State for the second round. The first Gael will tee of the first hole at 9:20 a.m. Fans can follow live scoring via the tournament’s page on GolfStat. Stay tuned to @SMCGaels on Twitter for the latest news and updates. 

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