Men's Golf Captures Team Title at Jones Invitational
Feb. 25, 2014
SOMIS, Calif. - Bolstered by four top-six individual finishes, the San Diego State men's golf team came away the team title at the Jones Invitational on Tuesday after tying the tournament low with a 8-over 292 during the final round at the 6,985-yard, par-72 Saticoy Country Club.
The Aztecs finished the 54-hole event with a combined 17-over 881, edging USC (+18) by one stroke for their first team championship since winning the Lamkin Grips San Diego Classic in 2013.
SDSU was led by Riccardo Michelini (Carpi, Italy), who placed second on the individual leaderboard with a collective 1-over 217 after firing a 74 over the final 18 holes. Despite five bogeys on the day, including four straight on holes 9-12, the Aztec sophomore salvaged his round with a trio of birdies, featuring an important make on the par-5 No. 14 where he forged a tie with USC's Anthony Paolucci.
The two golfers remained deadlocked after each shot pars on the ensuing three holes. The stage was then set for a dramatic finish on the 568-yard, par-5 18th. Michelini once again made par; however, Paolucci sank his birdie putt to claim medalist honors. Despite the near-miss, Michelini, the 2013 Mountain West Freshman of the Year, still managed to record his highest collegiate finish.
Also aiding the SDSU cause was junior Xander Schauffele (San Diego, Calif.), who landed in the fourth position at 4-over 220 after carding a 75 on Tuesday. The Scripps Ranch High product entered the final round in a tie for third, but six bogeys, including one at No. 18, thwarted his advance up the leaderboard. Despite the misfortune, Schauffele salvaged his round with three birdies en route to his second top-five finish of the season and fifth as an Aztec.
Meanwhile, Austin Kaiser (Atascadero, Calif.) posted SDSU's low score of the day, firing a 70 to finish the tournament in a four-way tie for sixth at 6-over 222, along with freshman Ricky DeSantis (Carlsbad, Calif.). With just one blemish on his scorecard, a bogey at No. 4, Kaiser managed to vault 17 spots from the 23rd position playing steady golf, posting 14 pars sprinkled with a trio of birdies for his best showing of the year thus far.
Similarly, DeSantis displayed upward mobility, jumping five places from the 11th slot after shooting a 73 over the final 18 holes. The Carlsbad High alumnus was 3-under through six holes after making birdie at No. 1, followed by his first collegiate eagle on the 431-yard, par-4 No. 4. DeSantis subsequently endured a rough 10-hole stretch, recording a smorgasbord of two birdies, two pars and six bogeys, including a pair on the 15th and 16th, before regrouping for two huge pars en route to his highest finish of the season.
The Scarlet and Black was also represented by junior James Holley (Chatsworth, Calif.), an individual competitor who finished in a seven-way logjam for 19th at 10-over 226. Despite experiencing difficulty with six bogeys of his own, Holley drained two birdies and made eagle on the 533-yard, par-5 No. 14.
The Aztecs will now have two weeks to prepare for the annual San Diego Classic, scheduled for March 10-11 at San Diego Country Club in Chula Vista, Calif., as SDSU looks to defend its team title from a year ago.
Jones Invitational Saticoy C.C. Somis, Calif. Par 72, 6,985 yards Final Results
*-competing as an individual