Shooting under par was the main struggle for the Matadors as they finished tied for sixth with California State University, Fresno in the 2022 Visit Stockton Pacific Invitational. The CSUN point guard was senior Paul Louis-Gachet, who hit the ball well enough to tie for 11th and give CSUN a sixth-place finish for the second year in a row.
“We played the first round and didn’t finish well, and lost all four strokes on the last two holes and tied the game,” CSUN head coach Jim Bracken said. “It’s a golf course where we have to shoot under par, but we came back to get a sixth place. And that’s all I can ask for, they give me 100 per cent.”
The Matadors played at Stockton Golf & Country Club in Stockton, California, surrounded by bright green grass and tall, majestic trees overlooking the 18 holes. Pacific University hosted the CSUN men’s golf team and 14 others, including five other teams from the Big West Conference in the tournament, which ran from Oct. 20-22. First place went to Grand Canyon University.
The Matadors started their tournament slow, finishing collectively tied on the first set of holes. CSUN improved in the next round shooting 6 under to make their best outing. The next day turned out to be similar to the second round, when they got a 5 under the last round, giving the team a total of 11 under.
Senior Thomas Burou finished in 11th place and represented CSUN in the individual competition. Burou has seen a change in direction in his form, averaging 73.25 this season but running 69.3 at Stockton. He shot 5 under and had 14 birdies, the most on the team.
The first round was not favorable to the other Matadors, as it was the only round in which they shot tied, other than Louis-Gachet, who came out with a strong start at 2 under on the first day.
Louis-Gachet guided the team to a significant turnaround by shooting for 5 under the tournament. He and senior Felix Schrott racked up 12 birdies. George Washington University’s Jakub Hrinda birdied the ball for 18, the most of any individual in the tournament.
Attempting to carry his inspirational form from the Bill Cullum Invitational, in which he won first place, Schrott hit the ball for a 4 under. In the second round he shot for a team best 5 under. His effort was enough for him to tie University of the Pacific’s Alex Barclay for 16th place.
Louis-Gachet, Burou and Schrott all shot for a single eagle each at the Visit Stockton Pacific Invitational.
Aiming to overturn a slight slump from the last tournament, senior Eirik Thomassen fired an even shot, while pocketing 10 birdies. The third round was favorable for Thomassen, as it was there that he collected five of his birdies and hit the ball for 3 under.
A drop in form from elder Brandon McDonough saw him collect the fewest birdies on the team with nine, while maneuvering the ball for 2-over, enough to tie with five other players for 43rd place.
Sophomore Nick Fowlkes tumbled in the first round for seven birdies, the most of any round for the Matadors. That opening round was not indicative of the next two, in which he got a collective 10 over. A cold finish after a hot start was enough for him to earn 72nd place and tied with seven other players.
Ian MacKay senior did not play in the tournament; as hosts, the Tigers had an injured player and could not meet the demands of the team. Therefore, the tournament only allowed five members per team.
“We just have to stay positive and some 4 putts that we have to avoid. And what I always tell my team – the only person who lives in the past is me, because I’m old,” Bracken said. “Sometimes the game is just tough. Golf is a mental game. You may be upset for a second, but you have to move on.