By RON SMITH
WESTMONT COLLEGE WRITER
VENTURA — Westmont College men’s and women’s golf teams opened the 2021-22 season Monday at the California Invitational, hosted by California Lutheran University at the Olivas Links Golf Course.
At the end of the first day of the two-day event, Westmont’s women’s team found itself in ninth place out of 11 teams.
The Warriors shot a 38-over par 326, 41 strokes off the pace of first place George Fox (Wash.), which is at three-under with a score of 285. Westmont led Marymount – the only other NAIA team in the event – by 67 strokes.
Charlie Bloom, a freshman from Spokane, Wash., shot a seven-over par 79 to lead the Warriors and tie for 33rd place. Serena Jonay Garcia, a junior transfer from Dinuba, recorded a nine-over 81 while freshman Melinda Amick of Manteca posted a 10-over 82. Kat Bevill and Drew Thompson turned in scores of 84 and 86 respectively.
“We have spent the last week talking about implementing a new strategy,” noted Westmont head coach Josh Ault. “We have talked about how to get a great, ‘plays-like number’. We talk about the yardage to the pin, cover, runoff and about moving our aim point. The feedback at the end of the day was that they like the information and feel empowered to play better golf.
“I’m proud of Charlie for shooting a 79 in her first college event. She is our current No. 1, and that was a good showing for her.
The team score of 326 is the lowest in program history and marks the first time all five Westmont players scored 86 or below. The last time the women’s team played this course, which was in September 2019, the team score for the first round was 347.
The men played two rounds on the first day, posting a team score of 302 in the first round and 308 in the second.
“It was pretty cold and by the end of the second round the fog was rolling in,” said Ault of the conditions at the course that is located less than a mile from the ocean. “You could hardly even see the pin from a distance.”
Andy Knight, a freshman from San Diego, led the Warriors with an even-par 144 to tie for 13th place.
“Andy, who is our No. 1 on the men’s side, shot a 74 and then backed it up with a 70, two-under par,” said Ault. “That ties the lowest Westmont men’s score in tournament history.
“Trevor White shot 74 in the first round and a 73 in the second”.
White, a junior from Castle Pines North, Colo. was tied for 25th place on Monday.
Ron Smith is the sports information director at Westmont College.