Junior Enrique Marin carded a team-best 3-over 219 to tie for 12th overall but Idaho struggled to beat the heat in its spring opener at The Farms Invitational Monday and Tuesday in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
The Vandals placed 10th as a team out of 11 groups with an overall 61-over 925. Marin led his fellow convoy by 11 strokes to record his fifth top-15 of his career.
“We didn’t play well,” Idaho Head Coach David Nuhn said in a news release. “I’m not ecstatic that we’re climbing out of the cellar, but it’s our first time out this spring and not all hope is lost.”
After a 1-under outing in the first round, Marin fizzled a bit with a 75 and 73 in the following rounds at the par-72, 6903-yard, glistening green links.
Marin checked in after the first as one of only 16 competitors under par. After a substandard front-nine, Marin retaliated against the club on the water-prorated back. Four straight pars were not enough for the junior, who knocked in three birdies in the last five holes.
The immediately subsequent second round, the latter part of which was suspended until Tuesday morning due to darkness, progressed as less than ideal for Marin. His front-nine featured a motley of shapes, four below-par circles, two 1-over squares and a single double-bogey double-box.
Marin’s back was a bit more consistent, yet not in the most ideal manner. He ended the round 3-over, thanks largely to three early, rescuing birdies. A final-round eagle on the ninth, a 486-yard par-5, cemented Marin’s standing in the top-15.
Every Vandal except Marin recorded 6-over 78s in the first round, and nearly shot in congruence once more in second. The overall unfavorable consistence held Idaho steady throughout the first two rounds in 10th place.
Adam Veenstra shot himself into marks comparable to Marin in the third and final round. The freshman broke even on the front-nine, recording all pars save a single bogey and birdie, and stifled a shaky back-nine with a round-ending par to record a 75, tied for Idaho’s third-best score on the tournament.
Despite a start to spring featuring almost little to cheer about, a silver-lining can still be found. UCLA, the 20th-ranked team in the nation, only featured one golfer who surpassed Marin’s score — Hedtoshi Yoshihara, an all-Pac-12 player.
The San Francisco Dons of the West Coast Conference were the week’s top-team. Although Santa Clara’s freshman phenom Matthew McCarty placed first overall with a 4-under 212, the Dons bore an only slightly more consistent group of four — just enough so to earn a single-stroke edge over Santa Clara and UCLA.
From Rancho Santa Fe, the Vandals will travel just about 100 miles northeast to Palm Desert, Calif., where they will look to attain some much-needed confidence over the weekend at the Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate at the Classic Club.
Colton Clark can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @coltonclark95.