San Diego State, UNLV Men's Golf Teams Advance to 2015 NCAA Men's Golf Championship

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (UNLVRebels.com) - The No. 24 UNLV men’s golf team shot a final-round-low 10-under-par 278 on Saturday and finished third at the 2015 NCAA Noblesville Regional, which was played at Sagamore Golf Club (par 72, 7,173 yards).

With the top-five finish at the regional, the Rebels have advanced to their 19th NCAA Championship tournament and second in the last three years.

Also advancing were Illinois and SMU, who tied for first at 4-under, and UCLA and Oregon, who finished fourth and fifth at 5- and 7-over, respectively. The Rebels’ 54-hole total was 1-under, just three shots back of the team champions. Colorado finished sixth at 15-over, failing to advance to the national finals.

Individually, Illinois’ Brian Campbell earned medalist honors by three shots at 10-under 206. He shot a final-round 7-under 65 with eight birdies and one eagle. His 65 broke the competitive course record of 66 set on Friday by Virginia Tech’s Scott Vincent.

Colorado’s David Oraee finished second at 7-under to claim the individual spot to advance to the NCAA finals. UCLA’s Jonathan Garrick finished third at 6-under.

The Rebels were led by senior Kurt Kitayama, who shot a final-round 4-under 68 and finished sixth at 3-under 213. Kitayama had four birdies, an eagle and two bogeys during the final round.

Fellow UNLV seniors Nicholas Maruri and Carl Jonson each tied for 16th at 2-over. Maruri shot 5-under during the final round with four birdies, one eagle and one bogey, while Jonson was even par. Junior AJ McInerney finished tied for 21st at 4-over after a final-round 1-under and freshman Shintaro Ban finished tied for 43rd at 10-over after a final-round 1-over. Mountain West Freshman of the Year John Oda was unable to compete because of a wrist injury and did not make the trip.

“I am very proud of the way our five guys played without John (Oda), our low scoring average player for the year not being here,” UNLV head coach Dwaine Knight said. “They stepped up and played some incredible golf today from start to finish. We had birdies and eagles all the way through the entire round, not just for part of it.

“Two years ago at the finals in Atlanta, we made such a great run to the Elite Eight and four of these guys were there. Today was really similar in the way we played and the guys all said they felt that way. We know what it is like to get into the hunt and we want to be able to do that at the finals. We took two trips to Florida this year in preparation if we were fortunate to make it to the finals, so we have a little experience with that type of grass. We are really looking forward to getting down there and competing.”

There were a total of six 54-hole regional tournaments. The Noblesville Regional consisted of 14 teams and 75 individuals. The low five teams and the low individual not on those teams from each of the regionals advanced to the NCAA Championship finals, which will be played May 29-June 3 at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla. (hosted by South Florida).

This year marked UNLV’s 27th straight appearance in a NCAA Regional, which is the record for most consecutive appearances.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (GoAztecs.com) For the third time in the last five seasons, the San Diego State men’s golf team secured a berth in the NCAA Championships after logging a runner-up finish on Saturday at the NCAA New Haven Regional in New Haven, Conn. The Aztecs, who entered the day tied for third, climbed one notch in the standings after posting a collective 7-under 273 over the final 18 holes for a three-round total of even-par 840.

With its performance, SDSU finished 14 shots in back of South Florida (-14), the No. 3 seed in the regional, while Oklahoma State (+2), Vanderbilt (+4) and LSU (+9) claimed the other three national qualifying spots on The Course at Yale’s par-70, 6,803-yard layout.

"We had a two-hour rain delay this morning, so we decided to change our game plan before the round,” said Aztec head coach Ryan Donovan. “We played aggressive and the team executed well. Our goal was to win today, and now we get to prepare for the national championships. I am very proud of the hard work that the team put in and (assistant coach) Evan Emerick played a huge part this week as well.”

Four of the Scarlet and Black’s five starters finished with scores of par or better on Saturday, including senior Xander Schauffele (San Diego, Calif.) and junior Ryann Ree (Redondo Beach, Calif.), who each carded a final-round 67.

After making bogey at No. 1, Schauffele played spot-free golf the rest of the way, tying for team-high honors with four birdies, including three during a six-hole stretch on the front nine. With his effort, the Scripps Ranch High alumnus posted his highest finish in three regional events as a collegian, landing in a six-way logjam for fifth place with a combined 3-under 207. In addition, Schauffele completed his team-best eighth top-five placement this season and 13th round in the 60s.

Similarly, Ree drained four birdies of his own, including two straight conversions at the 11th and 12th greens as part of a bogey-free back nine. Saving his best round for last, the Oregon transfer vaulted 11 places into a tie for 25th in his first-ever regional appearance.

SDSU had two additional players finish among the individual top 25, including Riccardo Michelini (Carpi, Italy), who tied for the 17th position with a 1-over 211 after firing an even-par 70 on Saturday. The Aztec junior offset two bogeys with a pair of birdies, including an impressive make on the par-4, 365-yard No. 14, which ranked as the sixth-toughest hole of the final round.

Meanwhile, PJ Samiere (Kailua, Hawaii) logged his third-highest placement of the year after landing in the 22nd spot at 2-over 212. Despite back-to-back bogeys on holes 9 and 10, the SDSU freshman still completed his 11th round in red figures this season, finishing with a 69, highlighted by a trio of birdies.

The SDSU contingent also included Nahum Mendoza III (San Diego, Calif.), who dropped into 49th at 10-over 220 after shooting a final-round 75. The Aztec sophomore started strong with four straight pars and a birdie-2 at No. 5; however, four bogeys and a double-bogey on the 13th green proved too much to overcome.

Oklahoma State’s Jordan Niebrugge, who set a course record with a 62 on Friday, captured medalist honors after completing the tournament at 7-under 203, while Tolver Dozier of Troy University, Ohio State’s Addison Coll and Mattias Schwab of Vanderbilt finished regulation in a three-way tie for the runner-up spot at 4-under 206.  Dozier holed out a pitching wedge from 138 yards away on his second shot of the first playoff hole with Coll to grab the New Haven Regional’s lone individual qualifying spot at the national championships.

San Diego State will be among the 30 teams and 156 total individuals that will compete for the national title, May 29-June 3, at Concessions Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla. The field will play 54 holes of stroke play over a three-day period to determine the individual national champion. The final three days will feature match play between the top eight squads for the national team title. The Aztecs finished fifth in their last NCAA appearance in 2012 at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., after falling to California 3&2 in the quarterfinals of match play.