SDSU's Christine Wong Named MW Golfer of the Year
April 22, 2012
San Diego State junior Christine Wong became the first Aztec to be named Mountain West Golfer of the Year as the 2012 conference championship came to a close in blistering triple-digit temperatures Sunday at the par-72, 6,208-yard Wigwam Golf Course. Wong came up just short of the league individual title, falling on the fourth playoff hole, but was able to lead SDSU to its best team finish (3rd) at the MW tournament in a decade.
"I'm very happy for and proud of Christine," said SDSU head coach Leslie Spalding. "She has been solid for us this entire season and has led the league in stroke average. Today, she showed great composure out there and really came up with some big shots."
Wong trailed TCU's Sanna Nuutinen by three strokes with just three holes remaining in regulation. She managed to make up that deficit all on the par-3 16th, as she carded a birdie to Nuutinen's double bogey. After both notched pars on the 17th hole, Wong sunk a dramatic 20-foot putt on the 18th hole for birdie to send it to a sudden-death playoff. The pair each had pars on the first three playoff holes until the decisive fourth, when Wong ended up in the bunker and made bogey, while Nuutinen logged another par to claim medalist honors.
Wong's individual finish is the best by an Aztec in the 13-year history of the event, while her 1-over 217, which included a final-round 1-under 71, is second lowest by an SDSU golfer at the MW championships. In addition to claiming the conference player-of-the-year award, the Richmond, B.C., native made the all-conference squad for the third year in a row and was joined by senior Malin Enarsson (Gothenburg, Sweden), who was honored for the second time in her career.
As a team, San Diego State dropped one spot into third place at 47-over 911, including a final-round 303. The Aztecs were two strokes behind UNLV, which jumped up from fourth to second with the help of the lowest round by any team in the tournament (292), while they came in seven in back of TCU, which won the title for the second season in a row. The third-place performance is SDSU's best at the Mountain West championship since finishing as the runner-up at both the 2001 and 2002 events.
Besides Wong, Enarsson was the second Aztec in the top 10 on the individual leaderboard with a career-high sixth-place finish at 9-over 225. Freshman Amy Alston (Mission Viejo, Calif.) tied for 16th place with a 232, including a final-round 78, in her MW tournament debut. Juniors Gina Clark (Murrieta, Calif.) and Alessia Knight (Bologna, Italy) both moved up one spot in the final standings over the final 18 holes, coming in 24th and 30th, respectively.
SDSU will wait to hear if it will make its third consecutive trip to the NCAA regional tournament when the 72 bids are announced on Monday, April 30. The three regional sites this year are in Erie, Colo., Columbus, Ohio and State College, Pa., May 10-12.
2011-12 Mountain West Conference Awards
Women's Golfer of the Year
Christine Wong, Jr., San Diego State
Co-Freshmen of the Year
Dana Finkelstein and Mayko Chwen Wang, UNLV
Coach of the Year
Angie Larkin, TCU
All-Mountain West Conference Team
Malin Enarsson, Sr., San Diego State Christine Wong, Jr., San Diego State Brianna Espinoza, Sr., Colorado State Sammi Stevens, So., New Mexico Brooke Beeler, Sr., TCU April McCoy, Fr., TCU Sanna Nuutinen, So., TCU Dana Finkelstein, Fr., UNLV Mayko Chwen Wang, Fr., UNLV
2012 Mountain West Championships
Litchfield Park, Ariz.
Wigwam Golf Course - Par 72, 6,208 yards
Final Results - 54 Holes
1 TCU 304-299-301-904 (+40) 2 UNLV 311-306-292-909 (+45) 3 San Diego State 307-301-303-911 (+47) 4 New Mexico 310-307-301-918 (+54) 5 Colorado State 310-306-306-922 (+58) 6 Boise State 312-312-311-935 (+71) 7 Wyoming 317-304-324-945 (+81)
Individuals (Top 4 Individuals out of 35) 1 Sanna Nuutinen, TCU* 73-70-74-217 (+1) Christine Wong, SDSU 72-74-71-217 (+1) 3 Brianna Espinoza, CSU 75-74-71-220 (+4) Dana Finkelstein, UNLV 76-73-71-220 (+4) * = Won medalist honors on the fourth playoff hole