SDSU Earns Trip To The NCAA National Championships
May 19, 2012
For the second consecutive season and the third time in the last five years, the No. 14 San Diego State men's golf team earned a trip to the national championships by finishing second at the NCAA Stanford Regional Saturday in Stanford, Calif. The Aztecs climbed from eighth after the first 18 holes into second place on Friday, which is where they remained in the final standings after posting a 274 for a three-day total of 19-under 821. SDSU finished six strokes in back of top-seeded and No. 2 ranked California (815), while UAB (830), Stanford (832) and UCF (835) claimed the other three national qualifying spots at the par-70, 6,727-yard Stanford Golf Course.
"Coming into this weekend, our team had a goal of not just qualifying for nationals, but also winning the regional tournament," said Aztec head coach Ryan Donovan. "It was this mindset that I think really helped us in the final two rounds and I couldn't be more proud and excited for the guys. They have a great team chemistry and are bonding well. It will be nice to get a little time off and then only have to make a short trip up (the coast) to nationals."
The Aztecs had three golfers place in the top 18, including senior J.J. Spaun (San Dimas, Calif.), who was the individual runner-up at 12-under 198. Spaun followed his career-low 63 on Friday with a 5-under 65, including seven birdies, nine pars and just two bogeys. The Mountain West Golfer of the Year was edged out of his fourth medalist honor of the season by Pepperdine's Josh Anderson, who was competing as an individual and ended with a 14-under 196.
Spaun still finished out the weekend with three Aztec NCAA regional records for low round (63), low 54-hole score (198) and best finish (2nd). He beat the previous marks held by current teammate Alex Kang (Oak Park, Calif.), who finished fourth last year in Tucson at 5-under 208, and former standout Magnus Carlsson, who carded a 6-under 66 in 1999. Spaun's 198 also is just the third time an SDSU golfer has broken the 200-barrier at a 54-hole event (tied for second all-time).
Kang, meanwhile, logged his second consecutive top-10 performance at an NCAA regional, improving from 14th into 10th with 4-under 206, including a final-round 69. Kang fired an eagle on the par-5 first hole to start the day and tallied three more birdies to get to 5-under before double bogeying the eighth and 10th holes. He then finished the tournament with eight straight pars to match his season-low for 54 holes and place in the top 10 for the seventh time in 13 outings in 2011-12.
Junior Tom Berry (New Haw, England) was the third Aztec in the top 20 with his second-consecutive sub-70 round to tie for 18th at 2-under 208. Senior Matt Hoffenberg (Simi Valley, Calif.), who played in his first NCAA regional since 2008, was the fourth SDSU golfer to improve on the individual leaderboard on the final day, moving from 51st into 44th at 5-over 215. Classmate Colin Featherstone (Fallbrook, Calif.) capped the Aztec contingent in 55th place with a 218, following back-to-back 74s.
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 Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif. 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 team national title. The Aztecs tied for 16th place at the championships a year ago and had two golfers finish in the individual top-10.
2012 NCAA Stanford Regional
Stanford, Calif. - Stanford Golf Course (Par-70, 6,727 yards)
Final Results Through 54 Holes
Team Scoring (Top 5 of 13 teams)
1 No. 2 California 276-270-269-815 (-25) 2 No. 14 San Diego St. 282-265-274-821 (-19) 3 No. 37 UAB 278-274-278-830 (-10) 4 No. 8 Stanford 277-275-280-832 (-8) 5 No. 22 UCF 278-279-278-835 (-5)
Top Three Individuals (Top 3 of 75 players) 1 Josh Anderson, Pepperdine* 67-65-64-196 (-14) 2 J.J. Spaun, SDSU 70-63-65-198 (-12) 3 Brandon Hagy, Cal 67-66-66-199 (-11)