Men's Golf Returns To Defend Tournament Title

Feb. 26, 2012

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Men's Golf Returns To Defend Tournament Title
The San Diego State men's golf team travels to the Los Angeles area for the 14-team North Ranch Intercollegiate, Feb. 27-28, in Westlake Village, Calif. The 54-hole tournament will take place at the par-70, 6,728-yard North Ranch Country Club.

The Aztecs return to defend their title from 2011, as the event since 1978 had been named the USC Invitational. Pepperdine will run this year's edition and thus has been renamed with the Trojans take a hiatus to get ready to play host to the NCAA championships, May 29-June 3.

SDSU is the highest ranked squad at No. 18 by and No. 21 by Golfweek. Its competition includes just three squads among the nation's top 60, including fellow conference member No. 21 New Mexico as well as No. 53 Charlotte and No. 60 Arizona State. Host Pepperdine, Brigham Young, Cal State Northridge, Fresno State, Loyola Marymount, Michigan, Pacific, San Diego, UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara round out the field.

Teams will start each day with tee times beginning as early as 7:30 a.m. PT from the first and 10th tees. The squads are slated to play two rounds on Monday, followed by the final 18 holes on Tuesday. Live scoring will be available on

Aztec Line-Up For This Week
Ninth-year head coach Ryan Donovan will utilize the same starting five that he did in the spring opener two weeks ago with seniors Matt Hoffenberg (Simi Valley, Calif.), Alex Kang (Oak Park, Calif.) and J.J. Spaun (San Dimas, Calif.), junior Tom Berry (New Haw, England) and freshman Wilson Bateman (Edmonton, Alberta).

Spaun has played in each of the last three formerly named USC Invitationals, while Berry, Hoffenberg and Kang have all made two previous trips.

Flashback: 2011 USC Invitational
The San Diego State men's golf team held off the nation's No. 1 team, edging UCLA by two strokes at the 2011 USC Collegiate Invitational in Westlake Village, Calif. The Aztecs, who placed 14th at the same event in 2010, were the only squad in the 15-team field to finish the two-day, 54-hole event under par, posting a 2-under 850 on the par-71, 6,869-yard course at North Ranch Country Club.

San Diego State had three golfers finish in the top eight. In addition, all five of its team members placed in the top 35 in the field of 80 participants, which included 10 schools ranked among the top 50 in the nation.

Aztec senior Johan Carlsson fired two consecutive sub-70 rounds to tie for third at 3-under 210. Junior J.J. Spaun posted his second consecutive top-10 finish with three consecutive 71s to end up seventh at even-par 213. Freshman Todd Baek rallied in the final 18 holes to move from 26th all the way into eighth place with his final-round 69 and card a 1-over 214.

SDSU junior Alex Kang tied for 19th, while sophomore Tom Berry tied for 35th place.

Rewind: Aztecs Tie For Fourth At SD Intercollegiate
The San Diego State men's golf team opened its 2012 spring campaign by tying for fourth place at the San Diego Intercollegiate, Feb. 13-14. The Aztecs shot a 23-over 887 over 54 holes and to end up knotted with No. 48 Tennessee.

After finishing in sixth place through 36 holes, SDSU jumped two spots on the final leaderboard with the help of a 3-under 285 in the final18, which was the second-best round of the entire tournament.

Senior J.J. Spaun put forth his best effort of the tournament in the third round with a 1-under 71 to lead San Diego State in a tie for 10th place with a 4-over 220.

The Aztecs had two players finish in an 18th-place tie at 7-over 223 in senior Colin Featherstone (Fallbrook, Calif.), who competed individually, and freshman Wilson Bateman. Right behind the pair were Alex Kang and Tom Berry, who tied for 21st place.

Junior Evan Emerick (Oceanside, Calif.) turned in a 10-over 226 for the tournament to tie for 28th place. Matt Hoffenberg, meanwhile, recorded a 1-over 73 in third round to tie for 32nd place (+11, 227).

Newcomer Cameron Tennant (Woodland Hills, Calif.) finished his first tournament as an Aztec with a 20-over 236.

No. 5 Washington won the tournament with a 6-over 870 and finished ahead of second-place and No. 9 USC (+13, 877). Third-ranked UCLA shot a 20-over 884 to place third.

2011 Fall Season Wrap Up
After its season-opener in Washington was canceled due to rain, San Diego State logged three top-five finishes in its three tournaments, including two third-place showings at the Tucker Invitational and the Alister Mackenize Invite.

Senior J.J. Spaun led the way in New Mexico, tying for ninth place at 2-over 218. Sophomore Todd Baek was the team's top golfer at the final two events, taking third at The Prestige and fifth at the Alister Mackenzie.

Following the conclusion of the team's schedule, both Spaun and Baek were selected to participate in the 2011 Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic in El Paso, Texas, Nov. 20-22. Baek finished in a three-way tie for first after 54 holes at 7-under par, but then lost the outright title in a playoff. Spaun, meanwhile, tied for ninth at even par.

Welcome To The Club
SDSU men's golf head coach Ryan Donovan announced the signing this past December of Kevin Ko, James Holley (Chatsworth, Calif.), Riccardo Michelini and Brian Song.

A junior college transfer from College of the Canyons, Holley joined the Aztecs for the spring semester along with another newcomer in junior Cameron Tennant. Ko, Michelini and Song, who are currently high school seniors, are slated to come to campus in the fall of 2012.

Head Coach Ryan Donovan
Ryan Donovan is in his ninth season at the helm of the SDSU golf program after serving as an assistant in 2003. Since taking, he has directed the Aztecs to 19 tournament titles and four NCAA national championship appearances.

In 2010-11, he was named a finalist for the Dave Williams Award, which is handed out annually to the national coach of the year in Division I men's golf. Donovan also became the first Aztec named Mountain West Coach of the Year and was tabbed the Eaton Golf Pride West Region Division I Men's Coach of the Year by the GCAA.

A native of Yorba Linda, Calif., Donovan was a four-year member of the Aztec golf squad, before graduating in 2001.