The Cal Poly men’s and women’s golf teams hosted the fifth annual Firestone Invitational at Monarch Dunes Golf Club in Nipomo on Monday and Tuesday.
The men’s team posted its second-best, four-person 18-hole total in program history, and the women’s team came out on top in the 54-hole event.
Eleven men’s teams and eight women’s teams competed in the tournament, with Cal Poly being represented by two separate squads in both the men’s and women’s competitions.
The women’s team hit the ground running in its first tournament of the year, seizing the lead after the first round of play, despite some difficult playing conditions.
“It was really windy, that made things a little tougher,” junior Asia Adell said. “You definitely have to adjust, like just judging what club to use, the windier it gets the more club you have to take.”
Freshman Drew Thomas, in her first collegiate golfing event, led the women’s team to victory. Thomas shot rounds of 74, 73 and 74, just shy of the school record by one stroke with a total of 221.
But their success could not be attributed to the weather. Head coach Scott Cartwright felt the wind made conditions on the first day more challenging.
“It was like spring winds out here,” Cartwright said. “We battled a lot of debris on the greens so that kind of slowed us down, but we actually played pretty decent.”
The Mustangs generally play at Monarch Dunes Golf Club about once a week, however the home turf didn’t necessarily provide a significant advantage.
“It helps,” Cartwright said. “But I’ve got the golf course set up a little differently because of the winds. We’re playing some holes different from what we’ve played before, but knowing the greens certainly helps.”
After completing the first round of play on Monday, the men’s team claimed fifth place on the 6,759-yard course, making an improvement after finishing 13th out of 15 teams at the Saint Mary’s Invitational two weeks ago.
“We’re still trying to find some magic,” Cartwright said. “We’re struggling a little a bit, so we’re trying to find who’s ready to compete. Hopefully by the next tournament in two weeks we’ve got it figured out.”
They figured it out earlier than expected.
The men’s golf team rebounded Tuesday morning with a 285 score in the second round and a 274 in the afternoon round.
Senior Grant Martens shot a 68 in his second round, and freshman Camden Price contributed with a score of 69 to help Cal Poly climb from fifth place to second place, entering the concluding round of play. The Mustangs battled leader Cal State Fullerton as Martens shot a 67, freshman Cole Nygren included a 68, Justin Haley finished with a 69, and Price tallied a 70 in the third round.
With an 847 total score, the men’s team was able to claim first place.
Now, after the team’s performance at the Firestone invitational, the women’s next tournament is the Wyoming Cowgirl Desert Classic at the Classic Club in Palm Desert. The men’s squad will compete in the Bill Cullum Invitational at Wood Ranch Golf Club in Simi Valley.