LA VERNE, Calif. — Alec Spencer shot a three-round total of 218 to claim a share of the individual title at the West Cup and led La Verne to a team championship on Tuesday at Sierra La Verne Country Club (par-70).
The Leopards built a 15-stroke lead through the first two rounds on Monday and was able to ride out an inconsistent final round for the first team win of the year. La Verne shot a total of 896 (288-301-307), beating a field that consisted of three ranked teams in the latest GCAA Coaches Poll and four others that are receiving votes.
It is a huge win for the Leopards, who struggled out of the gates with four newcomers in the lineup, and provides a springboard for the rest of the season.
"We knew that we had a talented team that was just incredibly inexperienced," La Verne coach Eric Riehle said of the win. "We knew we were going to play our best golf towards the end of the season as we made some changes and we saw a lot of progress at Jekyll Island [Collegiate Invitational] last week.
"But to come out here and win against one of the best field in the country, this is what La Verne golf is all about and this gives us momentum for the rest of the year and honestly, a heartbeat for the rest of the season."
Alec Spencer, who has taken on a leadership role this season after playing with some of the most decorated La Verne players the past two years, held together La Verne's lineup today with a solid 3-over 73 and won his second individual West Cup championship in as many years.
"He's leading his team now," Riehle said of the junior captain. "We have a young group and he's done a great job [leading them]. We've been talking about controlling the controllables and he does that with his preparation, his attitude, his emotions and his decision making."
Aaron DiGiamarino, who shot to the top of the leaderboards yesterday to give the Leopards an early cushion, carded an 80 today and finished seventh overall (223).
La Verne got stellar performances from its individual competitors as well. The Leopards' low score of the day came from Evan Zhang, who fired a 71 today and finished 36th with a total of 235 (83-81-71). Kwang Yun Yi signed a 73 today finished tied for 12th with a total of 227 (72-82-73). Josh Davis tied for 48th (86-77-76=239) and Jim Nicholson was tied for 53rd (76-83-81=240).
The Leopards return to action April 9 at SCIAC No. 2, which will be held at Anaheim Hills Golf Club.