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GOLF | Carrete Wins First Career Medalist Honor at SMC Invite

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Holding onto a one stroke lead and approaching the 18th green, Eduardo Carrete showed composure on an impressive up-and-down to secure his first career medalist honor as the Saint Mary’s men’s golf team finished runner-up at the 2016 Saint Mary’s Invitational at Poppy Hills Golf Course.

After a solid drive that found the fairway on the 18th hole, Carrete uncharacteristically pulled a 3-wood into a deep bunker. His third shot was no easy task as he had at least 50 yards to find a a tough pin location tucked in the back side of the fast green. After a birdie putt that fell four feet short of the hole, Carrete read the break, made a smooth stroke and picked his ball out of the hole for an impressive par save which sealed his wire-to-wire medalist win.

“That was not the finish I wanted to have,” said Carrete. “I hit a poor 3-wood left into the bunker. I tried to hit it on the green and just make a two-putt. It was definitely not the finish that I wanted.”

“I was really nervous,” explained Carrete. “The team that I have, my parents were here. They came from Mexico to see me and the team so it was a great weekend for me.”

A native from Queretaro, Mexico, Carrete now has two top-5 finishes in the fall season after a good showing at the USF Olympic Invitational earlier in September. Carrete finished the Saint Mary’s Invitational at 3-under after rounds of 69-68-73.

“It is great,” explained Carrete when asked about the fall season. “My first year as a collegiate golfer and to win a medalist honor, it feels great. Today was a bit of a struggle for me, but overall, I thought I played well over the three days. I played smart and hit good shots.”

As a team, the Gaels shot 865 (+13) with a final round 2-under 282. San Diego State claimed its second straight title at the invitational with a total score of 853 (+1). The Aztecs took full advantage of the scoring chances, as the team shot 10-under 274 in the final round.

San Francisco moved up a spot to third (881, +29), while Fresno State dropped to fourth after shooting 883 for a 31-over finish. Arizona rounded out the top-5 with a 32-over total of 884.

Along with Carrete, Roman Aragon bounced back with the lowest score of the round after shooting a 66 to finish in solo eighth. Aragon converted five birdies on the day with only one bogey.

“I hit the ball really well,” stated Aragon. “Put myself in position off the tee box and Jeremy (Assistant coach) and I had a really good game plan today. We stuck to it and the result was good. The course was beautiful, tough and coach prepared us well. You really can’t complain about it out here in Pebble Beach.”

Connor Blick played steady all day, carding 15 pars, two birdies and a single bogey for the 1-under round of 71. Blick finished tied-13th after a three day total of 221.

Pavan Sagoo also finished in the top-20, as the third year veteran finished at a tie for 18th. Blake Hathcoat, who played as an individual, also finished tied-18th after rounds of 72-78-72.

Despite three runner-up finishes in the fall season, the team understands the success thus far can lead to something great during the championship season in the spring.

“We had some really good tournaments this fall,” said Carrete. “We did a great job this season and we all played well shooting some good rounds. I think this is a really solid team and we can do really good things in the coming months.”

The Gaels will be off for the next three months before the spring season gets underway. SMC will begin the spring with the Amer Ari Invitational held from Feb. 2-4, 2017 at Waikoloa Kings GC. 

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