YOLO COUNTY NEWS

Sports

Fore! UCD men begin golf season in paradise

By From page B1 | February 05, 2014

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UCD sophomore Luke Vivolo strikes a ball during a recent tournament. After winning the Amateurgolf.com Tour championship, Vivolo is expected to be one of the Aggie team leaders this spring. Todd Hammond/Courtesy photo

Being a college student is difficult.

Being a student-athlete is even more demanding.

But every so often, even the casual observer wants to be back in college — especially if it means starting a season off on the golf links in Hawaii.

Such is the case for the UC Davis men’s golf team, which will compete this weekend in the 24th annual Amer Ari Tournament at Waikoloa Beach Resort on the Big Island.

After a fall season that saw Aggie sophomore Luke Vivolo win the Amateurgolf.com Tour championship at Quail Lodge Golf Resort (Carmel) and team co-captain Matt Hansen lead a charge that gave UCD a third-place finish in the contentious SBVC Invitational (Stockton), local coach Cy Williams got even more good news during the National Letter of Intent signing period in December.

Patrick Soli of Chabot College and former San Benito High star Ryan Han will join the Aggies next fall.

“We are excited and proud to sign these two players,” Williams said when receiving the duo’s commitment in December. “Both Ryan and Patrick are extremely accomplished … (and) will have the ability to come right in and compete for starting spots.”

They’d better be good because the current Aggies are loaded with talent.

In addition to Hansen and Vivolo, there are El Macero native Ben Corfee (Jesuit High) and ex-Dana Hills standout Mike Brockington — both of whom joined Hansen in carding key 68s in the last tournament of 2013.

So good are the Aggies that they appear at No. 50 in the recent Golfweek poll and No. 55 in the Golfstat ratings.

Last season, UCD finished the regular season ranked 68th in the land. However, it was the only university ranked there or better that did not get an invitation to last spring’s NCAA tournament.

With seven events ahead this spring — including The Prestige on Feb. 17-19 at PGA West (La Quinta), which the Aggies host with Stanford — UCD is expected to see some of the top links squads in the nation.

Case in point: the Amer Ari, which begins Thursday.

The three-round event features No. 2 Georgia Tech, No. 3 Oklahoma State, Stanford (11), UCLA (15), Texas (17), Washington (18) and No. 25 USC.

Williams knows he’ll find out quickly where his Aggies stack up in relation to the elite teams.

About Hansen, who observers say is improving with each swing, Williams adds:

“He’s our leader and if he’s not our No. 1 player, we’re going to be an amazing team.”

Aggie fans have a handful of nearby chances to see their linksters play this spring.

They’ll be at the U.S. Intercollegiate Tournment at Stanford Golf Club March 28-30, then host (with Nevada) the Winchester Classic April 18-20 at Winchester CC.

Big West Championships are April 27-29 at Soboda CC in San Jacinto with NCAA Regionals set for May 15-17 in Eugene, Ore. The finals are in Hutchinson, Kan., beginning March 23.

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-320-4456.

Bruce Gallaudet

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