Wednesday, April 14

UCLA men’s golf travels to Arizona for Wyoming Cowboy Classic

After a nine-day break, junior Bryan Wiyang Teoh and UCLA men's golf will be back on the course, competing at the Wyoming Cowboy Classic in Chandler, Arizona. (Jeremy Chen/Daily Bruin)

The Bruins are on the road once again.

UCLA men’s golf is headed to Arizona to compete in the Wyoming Cowboy Classic. A field of 23 teams will play 36 holes on Monday and 18 holes on Tuesday. Four of the 23 teams will be from the Pac-12, as Colorado, Oregon and Stanford will be joining UCLA in Chandler, Arizona.

Coach Derek Freeman said despite the Bruins not doing as well as they would have liked a week and a half ago at The Goodwin, his team is optimistic heading into the Cowboy Classic.

“Everybody feels great,” Freeman said. “Everybody has great emotions and great intensity. Everybody is excited about this week. We know we need to play well, and I think our guys are excited about that.”

Unlike the transition between the Duck Invitational and The Goodwin, the players had a full one-week layover to fine-tune their games and patch up any weaknesses they noticed in preparation for the next event.

“We’ve had a really good week of preparation,” Freeman said. “The guys have worked really hard over the last several days. Guys are feeling good about their games.”

The Bruins will use the same team this week as they did in their last tournament. Senior Devon Bling headlines the lineup with senior Eddy Lai. Junior Bryan Wiyang Teoh, redshirt junior Kengo Aoshima, and sophomore Mason Greene will fill out Freeman’s squad.

Bling is coming off his first two finishes out of the top-15 individually. He said it is key to look at weaknesses before coming to the next tournaments in hopes of bouncing back, and he is just looking to give himself opportunities to score low.

“We just looked at everybody’s weaknesses and practiced that during the week,” Bling said. “I want to see a lot of fairways hit and a lot of greens in regulation to help set me up for success this week.”

Wiyang Teoh said that after a long trip, he feels well-rested ahead of competition. He also said at the team’s last go-around, putting was an issue that hindered his performance.

“I’ve been focusing more on putting – I’m just going to work on how to make more putts,” Wiyang Teoh said. “Overall, I wasn’t putting that great.”

This tournament will be Aoshima’s second start of the season and his second start for UCLA. He transferred from Wake Forest before having to sit the early part of the season out because of COVID-19 protocols.

Freeman said the team is excited to have Aoshima in the lineup.

“He’s a great player – he’s going to really help add depth to our team,” Freeman said. “We’re looking forward to every tournament. He’s going to continue to get better and get more comfortable and back into playing mode. We’re looking forward to him really having a good tournament this week.”

This tournament marks the first time the Bruins have been in Arizona this season. Although they haven’t seen the course in person, Freeman said they did a little research beforehand. In addition, he acknowledged that there will be high temperatures in Arizona, so hydration is key.

“We always do scouting,” Freeman said. “We obviously always take a look at the golf course, take a look at the yardage books. It’s a golf course that is going to play hard and fast. It’s going to be really hot out there, so we got to make sure our guys stay hydrated. Most importantly, there is a lot of opportunities to make birdies, so our guys got to do a good job of putting themselves in positions to make birdies.”

UCLA tees off Monday at the Whirlwind Golf Club Cattail Course.

Sports contributor

Tran is currently a Sports contributor on the men's and women's golf beats.

Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.