San Diego State's Men's Golf Victorious in New Mexico
Courtesy of San Diego State Media Relations
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – After falling just short in its season opener earlier this month, the 23rd-ranked San Diego State men’s golf squad displayed its finishing kick on Saturday, capturing the team title at the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate with a 54-hole total of 1-under-par 863 at UNM Championship Course.
With none of the schools shooting collectively below par over the final 18 holes, the Aztecs fired a 2-over 290 to finish 10 strokes ahead of second-place Colorado State (+9) for their first tournament crown of the year and second in Albuquerque since 2010. Meanwhile, Brigham Young (+14) wound up a distant third, followed by Washington (+15), host New Mexico (+18) and Colorado (+18).
“Our guys played solid all week and stayed extremely patient when adversity struck,” said SDSU head coach Ryan Donovan, who reminded his players of the team’s dramatic playoff win last May on the same course in NCAA regional competition. “We had a good game plan and recalled some great memories, which helped boost our confidence.”
Four SDSU golfers placed among the top 15 individually, including PJ Samiere (Kailua, Hawaii), who posted a runner-up effort of 4-under 212 after carding a final-round 72. The Aztec junior entered the day with a share of the lead, but was unable to keep pace with Colorado State’s Blake Cannon, who took home medalist honors at 6-under 210 after logging a 70 on Saturday.
Despite sinking a trio of birdies, including a successful conversion on the par-5, 554-yard 18th, Samiere was stymied by three bogeys to fall out of contention. Still, the 2016 Southwestern Amateur champion managed to record his highest placement in a Scarlet and Black uniform.
Fellow classmate Blake Abercrombie (Rocklin, Calif.) finished two shots in back of Samiere in a three-way tie for third with Washington’s Corey Pereira and Shintaro Ban of UNLV at 2-under 214. Abercrombie carded SDSU’s lowest round of the tournament with a 69 to vault seven places on the leaderboard. The Northern California product was 2-over at the turn after making bogey at the par-3 11th, but closed with a rush, notching an eagle on the par-5, 579-yard 14th, followed by three straight birdies on holes 17, 18 and 1.
Despite dropping out of the top 10, Gunn Yang (Pyeongchang, South Korea) and Nahum Mendoza III (San Diego, Calif.) also figured in the Aztecs’ victory. Yang was plagued by seven bogeys overall, including five on the front nine, but rebounded with four birdies after the turn en route to a 75. With his total, the SDSU senior finished alone in 12th at 2-over 218.
Mendoza, meanwhile, ended the tournament in a tie for 13th one stroke behind Yang at 3-over 219 after carding a 74 on Saturday. The Aztec senior and Francis Parker High alumnus eased the sting of four bogeys with a steady diet of 12 pars to go with a pair of birdies, including an impressive drain on the par-3, 220-yard No. 11, which ranked as the sixth-toughest hole on the weekend.
San Diego State’s rotation also featured junior Matesanz (Irun, Spain), who slipped five spots into a tie for 64th at 14-over 230 in his first collegiate varsity start after firing a final-round 77.
The biggest leap of the day for the Aztecs belonged to Eric Ghim (Glendale, Ariz.), an individual competitor who catapulted 17 places into a tie for 42nd at 10-over 226. The SDSU freshman posted two blemishes on his scorecard, a double-bogey at No. 11 and a bogey at No. 16, but otherwise played consistent golf with 12 pars and a pair of birdies to finish with his lowest score of the weekend at 73.
San Diego State will have a two-week break from competition before returning to the fairways for the Alister MacKenzie Invitational, Oct.10-11, at the Meadow Club in Fairfax, Calif.