The 19th annual Straight Down Tournament teed off Saturday, with Cal Poly golfer and reigning Big West individual champion Justin De Los Santos and San Luis Obispo native Loren Roberts leading the field with a 66 at the San Luis Obispo Country Club.
Cal Poly men’s golf coach Scott Cartwright and partner Brian Folino and the team of Scott Heyn and Corby Segal trail by a stroke. Three teams are tied for third.
This year marks the first year both a coach and a current player at Cal Poly have played in the same tournament. Cartwright is usually watching De Los Santos play — this time he’s competing against him.
“He’s a good player, he made the birdie on the last hole to go ahead by one, so it’ll be fun,” Cartwright said. “Hopefully, we’ll get to play together tomorrow.”
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The top two teams of golfers are typically paired together and will finish about 4 p.m.
Cartwright has played in every year of the tournament, and he won in 1998 with teammate Dave Thomas.
“I know the golf course pretty well. The team gets out here about once a week or so, and I’ve been out here so long I know the greens well,” Cartwright said. “It’s a perfect setup, the greens are hard, they’re fast, that’s the defense for the golf course.”
Cartwright says he has to make an adjustment switching from coaching to competing.
“It’s different. I don’t play and I don’t compete anymore, Cartwright said. “So when you only play one or two tournaments, you kind of have to get in the right mindset.”
Cartwright also said the pairing with Folino helped his acclimation.
“(We’re) both easy going, kept the ball in play most of the time, so there wasn’t a lot of stress involved. There was only a couple times where someone had to step up and make a shot,” he said.
The first golfers will tee off about 7:30 a.m., and the tournament will continue despite a forecast for rain in the morning.