SDSU Men’s Golf Holds On to Win at Pebble Beach

Release courtesy of San Diego State Aztecs Media Relations

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Bolstered by three top-10 individual finishes, the San Diego State men’s golf squad came away with the team title at its season-opening event on Wednesday after posting a 1-over-par 285 during the final round of the Saint Mary’s Invitational at the famed Poppy Hills Golf Course. The Aztecs held off a late charge by host school Saint Mary’s to win by four shots with a combined total of 1-under 851 on the par-71, 6,868-yard layout. 

SDSU led by as many as 11 strokes on the front nine Wednesday and had to endure some anxious moments after the turn. However, the trio of Brian Song (Beverly Hills, Calif.), Riccardo Michelini (Carpi, Italy) and Blake Abercrombie (Rocklin, Calif.) delivered crucial birdies on the 18th green to help the Scarlet and Black claim its 29th tournament crown in head coach Ryan Donovan’s 13-year tenure. 

Song was the Aztecs’ top golfer, landing in a three-way tie for fourth place at 1-under 212 after carding a final-round 70. The SDSU junior paced the field with 15 birdies for the week, including six on Wednesday to climb three spots on the leaderboard. Despite three bogeys and an untimely double-bogey on No. 13, Song closed with a rush, notching four straight pars followed by the aforementioned clutch birdie to finish four shots in back of Gonzaga’s Sean Walsh (-5), who fired a 66 to claim medalist honors by two strokes, while the Saint Mary’s duo of Jonathan De Los Reyes and Pavan Sagoo tied for the runner-up position.

Elsewhere, the Aztecs’ Michelini and Ryann Ree (Redondo Beach, Calif.) completed the tournament in a four-way tie for ninth, finishing three shots behind Song at 2-over 215. Michelini found himself at 1-under for the day after the 12th hole, but three bogeys over the next five holes threatened to sandbag his round. Unfazed, the SDSU senior rebounded with another birdie on the par-5, 515-yard 18th to secure the eighth top-10 placement of his career.

Meanwhile, fellow classmate Ree continued his ascent up the leaderboard, vaulting an additional 13 spots from the previous day after pocketing his lowest score of the week with a final-round 69. Ree got off to a blazing start with four birdies in the morning before a bogey on the par-5 9th derailed his momentum. Despite the hiccup, the former Oregon transfer responded in steady fashion with eight pars on the back nine en route to his fourth top-10 in an Aztec uniform.

Abercrombie experienced a reversal of fortune, however, slipping eight spots into a tie for 17th at 4-over 217 after recording a 74 on Wednesday. Despite five bogeys and a double-bogey on the par-4 8th, the SDSU sophomore still managed to minimize the damage with four birdies, including an important conversion on No. 18 to clinch a top-20 finish in his first collegiate varsity start.

Rounding out the Aztec delegation was sophomore Gunn Yang (Pyeongchang, South Korea), who tumbled into the 23rd position at 6-over 219 after suffering a final-round 78. The SDSU sophomore, who entered the day in a tie for third, reeled off nine straight pars following a bogey on the first hole. However, another bogey at No. 12 and a quadruple on the par-4 13th knocked him out of contention.

Following the 1-2 finish of the Aztecs and Saint Mary’s in the team standings, Oregon State  (+15) wound up a distant third, while San Francisco (+19) and UC Davis (+24) placed fourth and fifth, respectively.

San Diego State will have 10 days off before returning to action for the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate, Sept. 25-26, in Albuquerque, N.M.

Saint Mary’s Invitational
Final Results
Poppy Hills G.C.
Pebble Beach, Calif.
Par 71, 6,868 yards
Team Scores (Top 5 of 15 schools)
1. San Diego State: 287-279-285—851 (-1) 
2. Saint Mary's: 279-294-282—855 (+3)               
3. Oregon State: 294-285-288—867 (+15)
4. San Francisco: 295-290-286—871 (+19)
5. UC Davis: 293-288-285—876 (+24)

Individual Leaders (Top 6 of 84 players + SDSU)
1. Sean Walsh, Gonzaga: 73-69-66—208 (-5)
T2. Jonathan De Los Reyes, Saint Mary’s: 69-71-70—210 (-2)
T2.  Pavan Sagoo, Saint Mary’s: 69-71-70—210 (-2)
T4. Brian Song, SDSU: 76-66-70—212 (-1)
T4. Kevin Murphy, Oregon State: 73-71-68—212 (-1)
T4. Alex Chiarella, San Diego: 67-76-69—212 (-1)         
T9. Riccardo Michelini, SDSU: 72-71-72—215 (+2) 
T9. Ryann Ree, SDSU: 73-73-69—215 (+2)
T17. Blake Abercrombie, SDSU: 71-72-74—217 (+4)
T23. Gunn Yang, SDSU: 71-70-78—219 (+6)