Prior to this year, the UC Santa Barbara’s men’s golf team had yet to see a Gaucho go to the NCAA Championship Tournament. This year, however, senior Zach Smith took on the NCAA Championship Tournament as the first Gaucho to make it into the tournament from a regional. Not only did he make it into the NCAA Championship Tournament, he also took home second place in the Pullman Regional.
Going to the NCAA Championship Tournament is no easy feat, but Smith brought home the title of second place at the Pullman Regionals, securing himself a spot. Smith was originally tied for second but took his place as the sole second place winner by scoring birdies on not one, but two of the first holes securing his spot. That doesn’t mean that there weren’t struggles along the way, but it does mean that Smith took every chance to overcome the obstacles that stood in the way of him losing his spot in second. Even during those struggles, Smith managed to remain calm and focused, allowing him to continue making excellent shots.
At the Division I NCAA Championship Tournament, Zach Smith made it through three rounds of the four rounds, securing an eagle on the 16th hole but unfortunately bogeying on his last two holes. Smith was able to make it to the third round and tied for 65th overall in the NCAA Championship Tournament; this tournament is no easy feat, but Smith had an impressive run and season. Smith’s 2018-19 season is one of the best seasons any Gaucho has ever seen in the program. Even though he wasn’t able to make it to the finals, Smith took home one last title this season being named PING NCAA All-West Region Team, another achievement for top performing athletes and an impressive title at that.
All around, Smith’s journey to and at the NCAA Championship Tournament is an impressive story to tell. In this season alone, Smith took part in ten tournaments and completed thirty rounds with an average stroke of 71.17, earning himself six of UC Santa Barbara’s top-five titles and finishing the season with an impressive 670 wins.
Smith has had an impressive golf career at UC Santa Barbara. Smith started his golfing career at UC Santa Barbara during the 2014-2015 season. He started his freshman year out well by being named Big West Conference Freshman of the Year. Smith continued his impressive career at UC Santa Barbara by being named among the top performing athletes as First Team All-Big West Conference two years in a row, the first in the 2015-16 season and the second in the 2016-17 season.
As the first UC Santa Barbara golfer to make it to the Championship Tournament through a regional, for Smith to take home second place is quite the accomplishment for himself and for the university. Not only this, but also making it to the third round of the NCAA Championship Tournament is impressive. As a senior, this will be Smith’s last season as a UCSB golfer, but he finished out his career well by having one of the best seasons overall by a Gaucho and by being the first to make it to the Championship Tournament through a regional. Overall, it’s a solid way to finish out his last year as a Gaucho and leave his mark on the school’s golf program.