Mar 302003
 
Authors: Luke Cornish

While fellow students are cooped up inside classrooms today, the CSU men’s golf team is playing 36 holes in Santa Barbara, Calif.

The Bite/Pacific Intercollegiate marks the team’s third tournament of the spring season and the Rams hope to continue their run of success.

The tournament is taking place at the 7,068 yard, par-72 Sandpiper golf course for the first time in three years. The last three tournaments were held at La Purisima golf course.

“This is our biggest tournament of the spring season,” head coach Jamie Bermel said. “This will decide who goes on from our district.”

There are 21 teams that are competing in the tournament and seven of those are ranked in the top 100 of Division I collegiate golf, including CSU, which is currently ranked No. 38.

Last year’s winner was Mountain West Conference-rival San Diego State. The Rams finished 10th.

The tournament, which takes place today and Tuesday, consists of 54 holes with 36 being played today and the remaining 18 holes to be taken care of Tuesday.

Junior Martin Laird is coming off an impressive individual tournament championship in the El Diablo Intercollegiate in Florida and will try to lead his team to its eighth consecutive top-10 finish.

Although Laird managed to take the glory from the last tournament, junior Nolan Martin still leads the team with an average of 71.8 strokes per round for the year. Laird is close behind Martin with an average of 71.9, which puts him in a tie for fourth place in the conference. Martin is second.

The CSU record is a 72.6 average, and is being threatened if Martin and Laird continue dominating the links.

“(Nolan Martin) has finished out of the top 20 only once all season,” Bermel said. “Both he and (Laird) are able to step up at any time and win a tournament.”

The success at the Nos. 1 and 2 spots has catapulted CSU into the national rankings, but a whole team effort will be required if the Rams are to be successful in California.

“There’s no question we need better play from our 3, 4, and 5 guys,” Bermel said. “We can’t be counting 79’s and 76’s. When we manage to hit a 68 we need to capitalize on that and get a good score as a team.”

If the Rams continue their streak of finishing in the top 10, they will break the school record of 12 such finishes in a season.

If a Ram manages to take home the individual championship, they will join the ranks of players that include the PGA tour’s Craig Stadler, Scott Simpson, and Duffy Waldorf, whom have won this tournament in the past.

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