FULLERTON, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton men's golf team erased an 11-shot deficit to win the 18th-annual Bill Cullum Invitational held at the Wood Ranch Golf Club in Simi Valley, Calif., on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
For Fullerton, currently ranked at 86th in the country according to Golfweek and 76th in the nation according to GolfStat, the Titans won their seventh event championship since the program was reinstated for the 2009-10 season. It was Fullerton's first win since capturing a share of the Big West Championship on April 30, 2013.
"We were surprised at how we finished," senior Mark Anguiano said. "We didn't expect to come back from being 11 shots behind. We played really well and stuck to our game plans more than usual. A lot of us knew the course well from playing there before, so that was an advantage."
Trailing then No. 24 Arizona State by 11 shots to begin the third round on Oct. 22, the Titans shot a 281, the lowest score of the day during the final round, finishing the three rounds of play at 15-under par (849; 288-280-281).
Fullerton edged San Diego at 14-under par (850) by just one stroke, while Arizona State shot a final round score of 290 (+2), to finish in the invitational 11-under-par (853) and in third place.
In the history of the Bill Cullum, the only winners to finish with a better score include Saint Mary's (845; 2004) and Pacific (843; 2009). The score of 849 also records a top-three 54-hole team score in Titan history, matching an 849 at the Del Walker Intercollegiate (Feb. 26, 2013) as Fullerton's mark of 837 earlier this season at the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate holds the top ranking.
"The third round took a lot of energy," senior Corey Gard said. "The practice round on Sunday (Oct. 20) took a long time, and then on Monday (Oct. 21) we played 36 holes, so we were out on the course from sunrise to sunset. When it came to Tuesday morning, everyone was just trying to put their game face and hoping we could put one more round together."
Anguiano finished in a second place tie for the second-consecutive tournament. He followed up a five-under par (67) on Monday, with a three-under par (69) on Tuesday to finish one stroke back.
Anguiano's two-round score on the first day of 138 (71-67) was a career best, and the Whittier, Calif., native, also matched his all-time best finish, as his score of 207 (-9) was good for second. Anguiano has finished second three times during his Titan career.
Anguiano completed his ninth consecutive round at par or better to start the season. He wasn't the only Titan in the top five as Gard moved up from a tie for sixth, entering the final round, to finish in fifth place with a 6-under par 209 following a third round of 70 (-2).
Junior Ryan Tetrault also moved up the leader board, finishing the Invitational tied for 14th, with his final round 70 (-2).
"The last round was really good, and I think that's an indication of how good we can be when we are gelling and everybody is playing at their best," Tetrault said. "In the fall we can gauge how we are playing to really know what we have to work on for the spring. Our goal is to make it to the NCAA Regionals."
Freshman Kyle De Silva and senior Josh Park shot 72 and 73, respectively, over the final 18 holes. De Silva finished the tournament at 1-over (217), in a tie for 23rd, his best finish of the season. Park finished 4-over (220) in a tie for 35th to round out the Titan lineup.
Park recorded his career-best two-round score of 147 (74-73) as well as tying his best three-round score of 220 (74-73-73).
For the tournament Anguiano (six-under) and Gard (four-under) led the field in Par 4 scoring with a 3.80 and 3.87 respectably.
The Titans travel back to Hawaii for the second consecutive year, to participate in the Warrior Princeville Makai Invitational Nov. 4-7.