Nipomo used balance to fend off Orcutt Academy on Monday.

The top four Nipomo golfers all finished within five shots of each other as the Titans held on to beat the Spartans by 11 strokes (221-232) in an Ocean League dual on their home course, playing the front nine at Monarch Dunes.

The team effort was enough to keep Robbie Birch's day from being the deciding factor.

Birch, an Orcutt Academy junior and three-year varsity player, carded the best score of any golfer with a 2-under 34. 

Evin Burrola led the Titans with a 39, then Chad Shusterich carded a 42, Jack Wellenkamp shot a 43 and Shane Tryon finished with a score of 44. Kyle Miller, with a 53, was the Titans' final scoring golfer.

Following Birch was Cesar Lopez's score of 45. Micah Rauscher shot a 46 for the Spartans and Jose Barcelo scored a 52. Eli Stephenson was the final scorer for the Spartans with a 55. 

The Titans were able to rebound after dropping a pair of Ocean League duals to Morro Bay last week. 

"Robbie Birch is a great player and you don't see a player come in at 2-under par all that often," Nipomo coach Kurt Lindgren said. "He was able to keep them competitive and it made me nervous, but fortunately I had some decent scores from the guys and they did what they needed to do to edge out Orcutt for the win."

Burrola has dipped into the 30s before this season. The sophomore shot a 39 at Black Lake earlier in the year.

"That's a great score from Evin," Lindgren added. "I'm really happy to see him shooting that at this point in the season with the league playoffs just right around the corner."

Orcutt Academy will host Nipomo in another Ocean League dual on Thursday at the Spartans' home course, Rancho Maria. The Spartans were forced to travel to Templeton twice last week for league duals as the grounds at Rancho Maria were being maintained. 

Birch currently leads the league in scoring.

Mustangs, Gauchos playing UCSB Collegiate at Sandpiper

SANTA BARBARA — Cal Poly sophomore Tanner Podres is two strokes off the lead enter Tuesday’s final round of the UC Santa Barbara Collegiate being contested at the Sandpiper Golf Course.

Righetti grad Keith Moles was at seven-over after shooting a 77 in the first round and a 74 in the second round.

Podres carded rounds of 69 and 71 for a four-under-par 140 total and third place. Tomas Helgo of CSUN takes a one-stroke lead over Zach Smith of UC Santa Barbara into the final 18 holes of play.

Cal Poly shares seventh place with CSUN with four-person seven-over-par 583 aggregates. Coach Scott Cartwright’s Mustangs posted a 293 total in the morning and 290 in the afternoon.

UC Santa Barbara leads its own tournament with an eight-under-par 568 total, followed by Weber State at 575 and Cal State Monterey Bay at 576.

The UCSB Collegiate is using the top four scores of six-player teams for the tournament.

In addition to Podres, Mustang Thomas Lehman also is in the top 20 entering the final round as his 73 and 72 for a one-over-par 145 total is good for a 13th-place tie with four other golfers.

Also scoring for Cal Poly were Adil Bir Singh with a 76 and 72 for a 148 total and 28th place; Will Draper with a pair of 75s for a 150 total and 37th place; Dominick Hoover with a 77 and 75 for a 152 total and 41st place; and Sage Casaga with back-to-back 789s for a 158 total and 52nd place.

Competing as individuals, Cade Casaga is tied for 28th place with a 77 and 71 for a 148 total, and Peter Faragia and Bryce Loosigian with 157 totals for a 50th-place tie. Faragia carded a 78 and 79 while Loosigian posted an 81 and 76.

Podres, who eagled the 532-yard 13th hole in the first round, carded seven birdies and five bogeys over 36 holes. He is tied for No. 1 in par-4 scoring at two under par and tied for No. 6 in par-5 scoring at three under par.

Lehman eagled the 524-yard first hole in the second round.

Podres’ seven birdies are the third most int he field while Bir Singh’s 27 pars are No. 6.

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Joe Bailey is the sports editor at Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Contact him with tips and story ideas at jbailey@leecentralcoastnews.com or (805) 739-2239. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jbaileysmsports