Men's Golf Ties For Second At Thunderbird Invite
April 7, 2012
The 12th-ranked San Diego State men's golf team was unable to hold onto its day one lead, as the Aztecs dropped into a tie for second place Saturday at the 40th annual Thunderbird Invitational in Tempe, Ariz. SDSU, which was also the runner-up at the same event a year ago, carded its highest score of the tournament with a 286 to end up in a tie with No. 16 New Mexico at 9-under 843 on the par-71, 7,026-yard Karsten Golf Course.
The Aztecs owned a four-stroke lead over No. 3 California heading into the day, but the Golden Bears fired the low round by any team this weekend with a blistering 10-under 274 to come out with the title by eight strokes at 17-under 835. UNLV's Derek Ernst, meanwhile, also climbed the leaderboard to earn medalist honors by moving from third to first for a 9-under 204 and a two-stroke victory.
SDSU's second-place performance was still impressive as the squad finished ahead of both second-ranked UNLV and fourth-ranked Washington, who placed fourth and fifth, respectively. The team had three golfers land in the individual top-10 with senior Alex Kang (Oak Park, Calif.) tying for fifth at 5-under 208 and junior Tom Berry (New Haw, England) and senior J.J. Spaun (San Dimas, Calif.) each tying for eighth at 4-under 209.
Just one day removed from his low round of the year, Kang, who was tied for the lead, was even through his first 10 holes, but then had two bogeys and his only double bogey of the event over a four-hole span to wind up at 4-over 75. His fifth-place finish is his fourth in the top five this season with three of those efforts coming during the spring campaign.
Berry had the team's low 18 of the day with his 4-under 67, which matched a season best and moved him from 17th into a tie for eighth. He fired five birdies, including three over a four-hole span, and became the second Aztec to eagle the par-5 10th hole. Berry's 209 allowed him to finish in the top 10 for the second time in 2011-12, after tying for sixth place in a smaller field at The Farms Collegiate Invite last month.
Although he was unable to capture his third consecutive Thunderbird Invitational title, Spaun was the only SDSU golfer to finish under par in all three rounds, posting his second 1-under 70 over the final 18 holes. He was 2-over making the turn, but finished strong with four birdies on the back nine, including the team's only one on the final four holes of the day to help the Aztecs pull even with the Lobos for second place.
Seniors Colin Featherstone (Fallbrook, Calif.) and Matt Hoffenberg (Simi Valley, Calif.) both tied for 38th place at 8-over 221, while junior Cameron Tennant (Woodland Hills, Calif.), who was competing as an individual, had his best round of the event with a 75 to improve four spots into 88th place with a 22-over 235.
The Aztecs play their final regular-season tournament next week when they compete in the 65th annual Western Intercollegiate at Pasastiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, Calif., April 14-15.
40th annual Thunderbird Invitational
Tempe, Ariz. - Karsten Golf Course (Par-71, 7,026 yards)
Final Results Through 54 Holes
Team Scoring (Top 5 of 17 teams, plus SDSU)
1 No. 3 California 276-285-274-835 (-17) 2 No. 12 San Diego State 282-275-286-843 (-9) No. 16 New Mexico 289-276-278-843 (-9) 4 No. 2 UNLV 285-285-280-850 (-2) No. 4 Washington 284-284-288-856 (+4)
Top Three Individuals (Top 4 of 95 players) 1 Derek Ernst, UNLV 69-67-68-204 (-9) 2 Austin Quick, ASU 66-67-73-206 (-7) 3 Brandon Hagy, Cal 67-70-70-207 (-6) Joel Slater, Cal 68-71-68-207 (-6)
San Diego State Golfers T5 Alex Kang 68-65-75-208 (-5) T8 J.J. Spaun 70-69-70-209 (-4) T8 Tom Berry 71-71-67-209 (-4) T38 Colin Featherstone 73-74-74-221 (+8) T38 Matt Hoffenberg 76-70-75-221 (+8) 88 Cameron Tennant * 81-79-75-235 (+22) * = playing as an individual