Fresno State sophomore Justin Avery finished in the Top 20 at Saint Mary’s Invitational. (Fresno State Athletics)
The Fresno State men’s golf team bounced back after a rough start to take sixth place Wednesday at the Saint Mary’s Invitational. The team posted its lowest round, carding a final round 5-over 289, on the par 71, 6,868-yard Poppy Hills Golf Course.
“We did not get off to the greatest of starts, but we finished exceptionally,” head coach Chad Spencer said.
After a rough start in the invitational, posting a team score 9-over 293 in Round 1 and a 14-over 298 in Round Two, the ‘Dogs found themselves in the middle of the pack on the 15-team scoreboard. Struggles continued early into Round 3 as the Fresno State fivesome was 14-over through the front nine, but things would quickly turn around for the ‘Dogs.
Four of the five ‘Dogs started off the back nine by posting birdies to contribute to the team score. The team then shot even par from there on out to finish the third day at 5-over 289 and finish at a 28-over 880 for the invitational.
Sophomore Justin Avery and junior transfer Trevor Clayton both finished in the Top 20 to lead Fresno State. With two 1-over par rounds of 72 and one 3-over 74 each, the duo finished with a 54-hole 5-over 218 respectively.
“I was real happy with the play from Justin and Trevor,” Spencer said. “Those two played some solid golf and set the tone for the others.”
In his first collegiate tournament, freshman Alex Lee finished the invitational carding an 8-over with a three-round 221. Lee and junior Russell Takeuchi, who scored a 1-over 72 on the final day, finished the invitational tied for 31st with David Faraudo of Texas State. But Takeuchi’s scores could not contribute to the overall team score for Fresno State because he was entered into the invitational as an individual.
The Bulldog fivesome for the invitational consisted of Clayton, Avery, Lee, senior Troix Tonkham and sophomore Cody Riecks. Takeuchi was the only Bulldog who participated in the invitational as an individual.
San Diego State took home the team title for the invitational posting a team score of 851 for a 1-under finish. Sean Walsh took home the individual championship with a 5-under total for the three rounds.
“This first tournament was definitely a good one for us,” Spencer said. “We took a step in the right direction, and if we find a way to be more consistent, we will find ourselves at the top of the leaderboard a lot this season.”