The Bruins’ second tournament of the week ended differently from their first.
After finishing last in The Prestige, UCLA men’s golf returned to the links for the Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate and finished in a tie for eighth place. The Bruins shot an 8-over 872, which put them 24 shots back of the winner Georgia Tech. The tournament featured 21 teams, including Pac-12 rivals Colorado and Oregon, which finished ahead of UCLA by three and 10 strokes, respectively.
Along with their eighth-place finish, the Bruins also boasted two top-eight finishers. Senior Devon Bling – who shot a 7-under 209 – finished third, and junior Bryan Wiyang Teoh shot a 3-under 213, which put him in a tie for eighth.
“Overall (the tournament) was better,” Teoh said. “I am a little disappointed. I could have finished so much better if I cleaned up some really simple mistakes.”
Bling too said he was content with his top-three finish, but believes simple errors cost him a share of the lead. This weekend’s placing marked the second time in a row Bling has been in the top 12 this season, leading UCLA in scoring in each of its first two tournaments.
“Third is okay, but I know I can clean my game up to where I can start winning,” Bling said. “There are just a few things and my own rust to shake so I can start winning.”
One of those things that Bling was referring to was the 16th hole on day two of the tournament, where he carded a triple bogey. If Bling parred that hole like he did the other two rounds of the tournament, he would have finished one shot back of the tournament winner.
Bling said his judgment of how the ball would react on the green was wrong, thus making his ball roll into the water, costing him a penalty stroke.
“I made a mess of that hole,” Bling said. “It was a misjudgment of spin and the ball didn’t grab in the fringe like I wanted to, then it rolled over the green and into the water.”
Both Bling and Teoh said the course they played in this tournament was a lot easier than the last, allowing them – and the rest of the team – to score much better. Teoh said the Classic Club was more forgiving and suited his playing style more than the Norman Course did a week ago.
“I think the golf course itself allowed us to play a little better,” Bling said. “It was a little easier than earlier in the week.”
Coach Derek Freeman said he was happy to see Bling and Teoh rebound from last week, but believe that both, along with the Bruins as a whole, still have a lot of room for improvement.
“It was great to see (Bling and Teoh) play well and get back into tournament mode,” Freeman said. “They both did a better job, not great, but they did a better job so we are excited to see where they are heading.”
The rest of the starting lineup did not enjoy the same success as Bling and Teoh. Junior Ahmed Ali shot a 32-over 248, sophomore Mason Greene shot a 5-over 221 and freshman Ty Griggs shot a 13-over 229.
None of those three were inside the top 40 by the tournament’s end.
“After (Bling and Teoh), the guys just didn’t play very well, and we got a lot of work to do,” Freeman said. “The good part is it is early in the season, and we can do some things to get us going in the right direction.”
The Bruins will have two weeks off before their next tournament, and the 14-year coach said the team has a lot to work on in that time, but with the more experience the team gets and the hard work his players put in during practice, he thinks they will continue to improve.
“They have to work hard with what is happening,” Freeman said. “I think with the right practice and right mentality they will continue to get better. Every aspect of our game needs to be addressed – everything has to get better, “
UCLA will travel to San Diego on March 8 for the Lamkin San Diego Classic.