CCU golfers finish seventh at prestigious UCLA tourney

Playing one of the toughest events on the 2012-13 collegiate schedule, #46 Coastal Carolina placed seventh in the 10-team UCLA Gifford Collegiate, posting a 54-hole total of 1098 at the par 71, 7,360-yard CordeValle Golf Course.

The field featured eight teams ranked among the nation’s  top 50 and the event is one of the more unique in that it each team has six golfers, counting the best five scores each round as opposed to most events that send out five golfers, counting four.

Host and fifth-ranked UCLA won with a 3-under par 1062. They were followed by #17 Stanford, #8 Southern Carolina, #30 Tennessee, #23 Northwestern, San Jose State, #46 Coastal, Lamar, #13 SMU and #50 Oregon State.

Coastal was led by sophomore Peter Valasek. After shooting an opening round 5-over par 76 and standing in 52nd place, Valasek moved to 33rd after a second-round 1-under par 70 Tuesday and finished with an even-par 71 Wednesday to tie for 16th. It marks his third career top 20 finish.

Valasek posted pars on his first six holes Wednesday before suffering a double bogey on the par 4, 15th hole. He rallied to birdie three of his last six before taking a bogey  on his 17th hole to settle for his 71. In addition to improving throughout this year’s event, Valasek placed 69th last season with rounds of 73-85-81.

Sebastian Sodeberg, ranked 43rd nationally, tied for 26th with a 6-over par 219 (71-75-73). Like Valasek, Soderberg showed improvement over last year’s trip to CordeValle as he tied for 41st, shooting 225 (77-71-77). On Wednesday, the senior had three birdies and three bogeys with a double bogey on the par 3, 7th hole leading to his 2-over round.

Roberto Ballesteros carded his best round of the event with a 1-over 72 Wednesday. The junior tied for 31st with a 6-over 220 (73-75-72). Each had he birdied the par 5, 6th hole with his birdie Wednesday being on his 17th hole to drop him to 1-over for the day.

Ben Wheeler and Andrew Dorn tied for 41st, each carding a 10-over 223. Wheeler, after having no birdies Tuesday, had two on Wednesday to help shave two strokes off his previous day’s score.  Dorn started slow Wednesday, standing at 9-over after eight holes, but he finished with nine pars and two birdies for his 78.

Easton Renwick matched his opening-round score of 75 Wednesday and, added to his 76 Tuesday, tied for 55th with a 54-hole score of 213. Kevin Vanden Heuvel, playing as an individual, shot 227 over three rounds to tie for 57th.

This marks the end of the fall season for the Chanticleers. Coastal finished the first half of the season with a 31-16-2 record. The Chants will return to action Feb. 4-5 at Jacksonville’s Sea Best Invitational, played at the PLAYERS Stadium Course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

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