Bruins Capture Fall Preview Title

Sept. 23, 2003

The second-ranked UCLA men's golf team mounted a late rally and swept team and individual honors for the second straight tournament - the Fall Preview, hosted by Virginia Tech at The Cascades Golf Resort in Hot Springs, VA.

The Bruins played the final three holes in four-under par and vaulted from sixth place to first with a two-under par team score of 278 en route to a 36-hole score of 572, 12-over par. One shot back was Georgia Tech at 573, followed by top-ranked Clemson and Florida at 575.

'This was a huge victory for our team and for John (Poucher),' said Head Coach O.D. Vincent. 'All of the top teams were there and John proved he could play with all the best players in the country.'

The tournament was shortened to 36 holes due to inclement weather on Monday.

UCLA junior John Poucher fired a two-under par 68 in the final round to win his first collegiate tournament. Poucher birdied two of the final three holes Tuesday and posted a two-round total of 138, two-under par.

'We battled really hard. We fought harder than any other team out there,' said Poucher. 'O.D. reminded us (on the last three holes) to stay focused and remain in the moment. This is what it will be like playing here in June (at the NCAAs).

'I knew I had a chance (to win). The par 5s were reachable,' Poucher continued. 'I was cuaght up in the comeback routine.'

At the par 5 16th, Poucher hit a long drive down the middle. Although there was mud on his ball when he approached his second shot, he hit a solid shot that cleared the pond in front of the green. He two-putted for birdie.

The 17th also is a par 5 and Poucher hit his tee shot down the right side of the fairway. He had to take relief from casual water and his drop did not produce a good lie. His second shot fell 80 yards short of the green, but he chipped up to within eight feet and made the putt for a second straight birdie.

Senior Travis Johnson also carded a 68 and tied for third place at even par 140. John Merrick's 70 in the final round gave him a total of 144, tied for 17th. Seniors Steve Conway and Roy Moon tied for 47th (150) and 61st (152), respectively. Conway's eagle at the 17th hole proved to be pivotal, enabling the Bruins to leapfrog several teams into first place.

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