LA VERNE — There's something to be said for a friendly rivalry between teammates.
But Occidental head golf coach Andrew Larkin '12 could have never expected the three-way logjam that his top women's players found themselves in at the conclusion of Monday's SCIAC Preview at Sierra La Verne Country Club.
Seniors Katie Park and Alexis Holmes and sophomore Kristin Oberiano finished 1-2-3 for Occidental in the play-six, score-four event, locking in second place for the Tigers (344) just six shots back of winner Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (338).
Park's 11-over 82 was good for a share atop the individual leaderboard with CMS' Shaina Raskin, while Holmes — who played her first official round since returning from a knee injury — and Oberiano tied for third overall with a pair of 12-over 83s. Newcomer Kara Alam rounded out the scoring for Oxy with a 25-over 96 in her first collegiate action.
For Larkin, the favorable results are a step in the right direction for the squad.
"The women played well, but are just on the edge of really taking the next step as a program," he said. "I was happy to see solid play from our top three early in the season. All three know they gave away strokes, and Kara is just on the verge of making the jump to joining the level of play that our top three are playing at. The women know that if we can play smart and cut away the silly mistakes, we make the jump to compete toward the top of the conference this season."
On the men's side, freshman Colton Bares placed first for Occidental and in a four-way tie for ninth overall individually with a 3-over 74. Jeremy Klein (9-over 80), James Wronoski (13-over 84) and Kevin Liu (15-over 86) also scored for the Tiger men, who finished with a cumulative fifth-place 324.
"I was very proud of Colton for taking a big step," Larkin said. "He bounced back after a bad start, and I think this is only a sign of things to come for him. That said, we gave away a lot of free shots today; something we will correct going forward that will put us in a better position for the conference tournament this weekend."
Both teams travel to Sierra Lakes Country Club this Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 15-16) for SCIAC #1, the first league tournament of the season.