By RON SMITH
WESTMONT SPORTS WRITER
Westmont freshman Andy Knight posted a seven-over par 149 after the second of two rounds to tie for third at the Pacific Coast Highway Invitational held at Quail Lodge Golf Club in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Knight was atop the leaderboard after Monday’s round with a one-over 72, but required five more strokes to complete the course on Tuesday.
“It was really exciting to have Andy in first place and in contention to win his first individual college tournament,” said Westmont head golf coach Josh Ault. “Andy putted great in round one. He made some really long putts that kept him in there. Andy is a quality player and I think he will be back in contention soon.
“The men’s team was in contention as well, only two shots out of the lead. There was a lot of excitement because of those two things. We tasted contention for the first time as a program and had to deal with how to respond to that the next day. Unfortunately, we didn’t have our best stuff the next day.”
As a team, the Warriors posted a team score of 302 (18 over) and trailed Menlo, the tournament host, by just two strokes. A score of 311 on the second day, however, dropped Westmont to fifth place, 13 off the pace. Westmont finished behind Menlo (600), Oregon Tech (606), Hope International (606) and Providence Christian (612) and ahead of William Jessup (642) and Vanguard (654).
“We got off to a slow start in round two, never gained traction and couldn’t gain any progress on the leaders,” said Ault. “However, we did finish well and I was proud of that.”
Ault noted that, “It was misty rain all day Tuesday and that affected us.” He also quipped that the team that played well in the drizzle on Tuesday morning was Oregon Tech.
“It was great to have Mason Mancasola step up and shoot two rounds of 76,” noted Ault. “That was a very solid performance.”
Mancasola finished tied for 10th while Brock Yurkovich tied for 17th.
“The highlight of the men’s team might be walk-on freshman Brock Yurkovich and the way he scored,” Ault said. “He shot 76 and 79 — two rounds in the 70s in his first college tournament. He stepped up and backed up his teammates.
“Joseph Cardon is also a freshman who is turning in consistent scores.”
Cardon shot rounds of 78 and 79 for a two-day total of 157.
In the women’s tournament, Kat Bevill tied for ninth place with a two-day total of 167. The junior from Crystal Lake, Ill. posted an 83 on Monday and an 84 on Tuesday.
Westmont’s Serena Jonay Garcia, Melinda Amick and Charlie Bloom recorded scores within four strokes of each other. Garcia recorded a 174 and finish tied for 14th. She shot 84 on the first day and 90 on the second. Amick was one stroke back in 18th place, shooting a 175 with daily scores of 86 and 89. Bloom, after posting a 94 on day one, improved by 10 strokes to finish 19th with a total of 178.
The women’s team finished third of five teams with 694 points. Westmont trailed Menlo (630) and Oregon Tech (643) while outpacing Hope International (715) and William Jessup (742).
“It feels like our women’s team is playing average golf right now, but there is so much potential,” said Ault. “Our goal is to have five players in the low 80s.”
The Warriors will take a break from competition until Feb. 7-8 when they host the Warrior Invitational at La Purisima Golf Course in Lompoc. The event is intended to be a precursor to the GSAC Championship that Westmont will host at the same course April 25-27.
Until February, Westmont’s men’s and women’s teams have an opportunity to continue working on their game at local courses and the on-campus Stan Anderson Golf Complex.
Ron Smith is the sports information director at Westmont College.