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Sergio Jimenez Masterclass Leads Utah Golf in Stockton Pacific Invitational

The Utes ended their fall season with their most complete showing yet, highlighted by consistency from multiple athletes.
Sophomore+golfer+Chris+Bratcher+golfing+at+the+River+Oaks+golf+course+on+Saturday%2C+May+21%2C+2022.
Jonathan Wang
Sophomore golfer Chris Bratcher golfing at the River Oaks golf course on Saturday, May 21, 2022. (Photo by Jonathan Wang | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

After a short week of rest following their fourth-place finish at the Oregon State Invitational in Corvallis, the Utah Men’s Golf team traveled to Stockton, California to participate in the Stockton Pacific Invitational at The Reserve at Spanos Park. 

Competition at the three-day invitational began on Monday, Oct. 16, with a lone opening round of 18 holes. The tournament marked the Utes’ first of the season where the team played one round each day, as opposed to the 36-hole (two-round) opening day format found in the season’s more common two-day competitions.  

The Utes were able to take advantage of a more spaced-out schedule and carded their best first round of the season thus far. With a team stroke total of 275, the Utes 13-under par mark equaled their best since they finished the John Burns Invitational in Feb. 2023, with a 15-under round. 

Led by Javier Barcos and Sergio Jimenez, the Utes took the sole position of first place at the end of the invitational’s first day. Barcos was the Utes’ highest finisher on day one. With a 5-under round of 67, fueled by multiple birdies and a single eagle, he ended the day two strokes behind the clubhouse leader and tied for sixth place overall. Jimenez wasn’t far behind, finishing the first day 4-under 68 without a single hole over par to his name. 

Adding to the Utes’ strong day-one performance was Davis Johnson, who was the team’s third-highest finisher of the day. Johnson, a redshirt sophomore from Scottsdale, Arizona, carded a 3-under round that included a par-5 eagle on the sixth hole. Braxton Watts was the Utah team’s final athlete under par, finishing the day one-under and rounding out what was the Utes’ strongest single round of the season. 

Day two of the invitational was the Utah team’s most lackluster day on the course. The team fell down the leaderboard, from first place to third, carding a team total of 283 strokes (5-under). Despite the team’s overall performance not matching their eruption of strong play on the invitational’s first day, the team did have a bright spot – that bright spot goes by the name Sergio Jimenez. 

Jimenez, a freshman from Madrid, Spain, carded the best round of his collegiate career shooting a 6-under 66. Moreover, the round also matched the Utes’ lowest individual round of the season, with the other being Johnson’s 6-under round at the Husky Invitational

“Sergio played great,” said Head Coach Garrett Clegg. “Other than that, we had a rough day, especially over the final few holes. We were in a good spot, but struggled to finish the last four holes. We are in a good spot going into tomorrow’s final round still, but we need to really bring it.”

Despite the Utah team’s overall position dropping, Jimenez’s position skyrocketed to third place overall after his clubhouse-leading second-round score. 

The team came back together and rallied on the invitational’s final day, finishing with a team total, 10-under 278, round. This total was spurred on by Brandon Robison and Johnson, who together accounted for nine of the Utes’ 10 strokes under par. 

Robison unleashed a masterful final round, matching Jimenez’s program-leading score that occurred the day prior, with a 6-under 66. Robison’s round was highlighted by a five-birdie stretch through seven holes that eventually grew into seven birdies throughout the round in its entirety. The sophomore’s final score not only tied the Utes’ best of the season but also marked the best of his collegiate career thus far. 

Johnson led the rest of the Utah team on the final day, carding a 3-under 69 round that ended his strong weekend of competition. Watts scored the team’s next lowest score with a 1-under 71. Barcos and Jimenez, who held the team’s lowest shot totals through two days, had slow rounds, scoring an even-72 and 1-over 73 respectively. Despite slowing down in the final round, Jimenez and Barcos still managed to end the week as the Utes’ highest individual finishers. Jimenez led the team in 11th place overall, while Barcos managed a tied-15th place finish that was matched by Johnson’s very own individual finish of 15th. 

“It was great to see Brandon finally put a round together and Davis and Braxton did some great things as well,” Clegg said in regard to the final day’s round. “We would have loved to have finished second and a slightly cleaner finish would have done that for us, but overall the guys competed hard this week and did a really good job. It was for sure our best performance of the fall.”

As a team, the Utes finished the Stockton Pacific Invitational tied for third place with Washington State. The team’s 28-under score represented the team’s lowest 54-hole score in relation to par since the team competed in the Mark Simpson Collegiate in 2021. The Utes end their fall season with their most complete showing yet, highlighted by consistency from multiple athletes. 

While the Stockton Pacific Invitational marked the Utes’ last competition of the fall, the team will be back for the spring season in Feb. 2024. The Utes will compete at the John Burns Intercollegiate in Lihue, Kaua’i, Hawaii.

 

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@AustinEames55

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About the Contributors
Austin Eames, Sports Writer
Austin Eames began writing for the Daily Utah Chronicle as a junior. Now a senior at the U, he writes for the Sports desk. Originally from Mission Viejo, California, he loves the beach but was willing to trade it in for the gorgeous Utah mountains. He loves most if not all sports, especially Lakers basketball and Chargers football. In his free time, you can find him in the never-ending pursuit of improving his golf game.
Jonathan Wang, Photographer
Jonathan Wang is a photographer of The Daily Utah Chronicle and is pursuing a degree in electrical engineering. He joined the Chronicle in August of 2021. In addition, Jonathan is also a photographer for Utah's athletics department. In his freshman year at the University of Utah, Jonathan covered almost every athletic event, from football, volleyball, beach volleyball, tennis, swim to NCAA Gymnastics Regionals. In his free time, Jonathan enjoys swimming, skiing and hanging out with friends.

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