Aztec Golf's Spaun, Donovan Earn Top League Honors
May 10, 2012
SAN DIEGO - The San Diego State men's golf team picked up two of the Mountain West's top awards for 2012, as senior J.J. Spaun was named player of the year and Ryan Donovan was tabbed coach of the year, the league office announced Thursday. Spaun, who was also selected to the all-conference team with classmate Alex Kang, becomes the fourth Aztec so honored, while this is the second year in a row Donovan has claimed his award.
Spaun (San Dimas, Calif.) is the fourth SDSU player to be named the Mountain West Golfer of the Year, but the first since 2008. Previous winners include former standouts Aaron Goldberg (2008), who currently competes on the Nationwide Tour, John Lieber (2002) and Lars Johansson (2001). Spaun also joins Goldberg (2006-08) and Mark Warman (2002-04) as the only Aztecs to be chosen to the all-Mountain West squad three times in their career.
Spaun leads the team in season stroke average at 71.14, including a 70.96 mark this spring. He is ranked 23rd nationally in the Golfstat Cup standings and is 28th according to Golfweek, posting eight, top-10 performances in 12 outings. He claimed medalist honors in three consecutive events in 2012, making national headlines by winning at The Farms Invitational, the National Invitational Tournament and the Barona Collegiate Cup. Afterwards, Spaun was tabbed the National Amateur of the Month by the Southern Golf Association, Mountain West Golfer of the Month and Golf World College Player of the Week. His five career individual titles, which also includes victories at both the 2010 and 2011 ASU Thunderbird Invitational, tie him for first in school history along with SDSU Hall of Famer Lennie Clements.
In his ninth year at the helm of his alma mater, Donovan has led San Diego State to five tournament titles this season, including four in a row, and a combined 11, first-place finishes over the last two campaigns. The Aztecs are currently ranked 14th nationally by both golfstat.com and GolfWeek and have placed in the top seven of all 12 of their tournaments, including 10 in the top five. The team boasts a combined head-to-head record of 138-22-2, which amounts to an 85.8 winning percentage.
This past weekend, the Yorba Linda, Calif., native directed San Diego State to back-to-back Mountain West championships, winning by five strokes at OMNI Tucson National in Arizona. The Aztecs are only the second school to claim consecutive titles in league history and the first since 2005-06, and have placed in the top two at the league tournament five of the last seven campaigns.
Donovan was a four-year member of the Aztec men's golf squad from 1997-2001, before playing professionally. He returned to The Mesa as an assistant coach in 2003, and later was promoted to head coach, where he has guided SDSU to 98 top-10 tournament finishes, 72 top-five performances, 24 team titles and four NCAA national championship appearances. Last season, Donovan became the first Aztec named Mountain West Men's Golf Coach of the Year and was one of 12 finalists for the Dave Williams Award, which is handed out annually to the national coach of the year in Division I men's golf.
Kang (Oak Park, Calif.) landed on the all-conference squad for the second season in a row and is just the sixth Aztec to earn multiple all-Mountain West accolades. He owns a current stroke average of 71.83 and has a team-high five top-five finishes with each of those coming this spring. He recorded back-to-back runner-up performances at the North Ranch Intercollegiate and The Farms Invitational and boasts 17 rounds under par, including 11 in the 60s. Kang was SDSU's No. 1 golfer (4th) at last week's Mountain West tournament, logging his third career top-10 finish at the league championships in as many tries. He is currently ranked 71st nationally by golfstat.com and 72nd by GolfWeek.
San Diego State returns to the action next week for the 2012 NCAA Regional, scheduled for May 17-19, at the Stanford Golf Course in Stanford, Calif. The top five teams and low individual not on an advancing squad will earn a trip to the national championships, May 29-June 3, at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
2011-12 Mountain West Conference Honors
Golfer of the Year
J.J. Spaun, Sr., San Diego State
Coach of the Year
Ryan Donovan, San Diego State
Freshman of the Year
Julien Brun, TCU
Alex Kang, Sr., San Diego State
J.J. Spaun, Sr., San Diego State
Zahkai Brown, Sr., Colorado State
John Catlin, Jr., New Mexico
James Erkenbeck, Jr., New Mexico
Victor Perez, Fr., New Mexico
Johan de Beer, Sr., TCU
Julien Brun, Fr., TCU
Derek Ernst, Sr., UNLV
Kevin Penner, Jr., UNLV