April 28, 2013
SAN JACINTO, Calif. - Early back-to-back birdies highlighted Matt Hansen's first round on Sunday, helping him to a 1-over 73 as the UC Davis men's golf team opened the Big West Championships at the Country Club at Soboba Springs in fifth place.
The two-time defending Aggies, top-seeded in the 10-team tournament, shot a 13-over 301 and trail first-place Hawai'i by nine shots. Tyler Raber, Jonny Baxter and Ben Corfee each fired 76's for UC Davis while Matt Seramin had a 78.
"We got our bad round, I think, out of the way for the tournament," said Aggie coach Cy Williams. "The conditions were fine and the course was fine. The course is on the more difficult side to be sure. Nine shots really isn't much. There's no doubt we can catch up but we need to play better."
Hawai'i is 4 over after the first round and leads second-seeded Cal State Fullerton by one shot. Long Beach State is third at 9 over while Pacific is three strokes ahead of the Aggies in fourth place at 10 over.
Hansen played the front side of the 7,137-yard course just one shot over par after moving to 2 under early on after picking up birdies on the par-3 4th hole and the par-5 5th. He was 2 over late in his round but birdied the par-5 16th to help him card the 73.
Raber was even after nine holes and used a birdie on the par-4 12th to help him get back to 3 over after struggling the first two holes of his back nine. He had five pars over his final six holes. Baxter was 5 over after 14 holes but birdied the 16th during his round of 76 while Corfee was just 1 over on the back nine as he matched Baxter and Raber. Seramin also birdied the 16th, shooting 3 over on both the first nine and last nine holes.
Hawai'i's Nainoa Calip and Cal State Fullerton's Corey Gard each shot 69's on Sunday and lead five other players by three shots.
Williams is confident that UC Davis will battle back from fifth and into contention.
"We have good strategy for the course," said Williams. "We just have to hit good shots. Teams that win championships hit good shots and execute. Our bad round is done and our good rounds are coming up."
UC Davis will play with UC Riverside and Pacific during Monday's second round. The Aggies will begin teeing off at 8:35 a.m.
San Jacinto, Calif.