Men's Golf Takes Fourth at Southwestern Invitational
Feb. 27, 2018
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. – Battling adverse weather, the San Diego State men’s golf team finished in fourth place at the Southwestern Invitational after shooting a combined 7-over-par 295 on Tuesday during the final round at North Ranch Country Club.
Enduring rain, hail and cool conditions, the Aztecs completed Monday’s suspended second round in the fourth position, but could not gain ground over the final 18 holes, completing the tournament with a 29-over 893, one shot ahead of fifth-place UC Davis (+30) on the par-72, 6,994-yard loop.
With four of five starters among the individual top 10, UCLA (-8) cruised to the team title, topping tournament host Pepperdine (+12) by 20 strokes, while Tennessee (+27) was a distant third.
For the first time this spring and the fifth occasion this season, PJ Samiere (Kailua, Hawaii) was the Aztecs’ No. 1 golfer, finishing a solo 11th at 2-over 218 after logging a 74. The Aztec senior began the final round in a tie for sixth, but could not keep pace on the leaderboard, suffering a bogey/double-bogey on holes 8-9, which precipitated his drop.
Still, Samiere managed to lead the team with 12 pars while sinking birdies on the par-5 No. 6 and the par-4 10th to highlight his day. With his score, the reigning California State Amateur champion ended the week 10 shots in back of Michigan’s Kyle Mueller (-8), who edged Tennessee’s Lorenzo Scalise (-7) for medalist honors, while UCLA teammates Hidetoshi Yoshihara (-3) and Cole Madey (-1) took third and fourth, respectively.
In addition, Blake Abercrombie (Rocklin, Calif.) finished one stroke behind Samiere in a tie for 12th at 3-over 219 after firing SDSU’s low round of the tournament with a 71. The northern California native offset four bogeys with a team-high five birdies, including an impressive drain on his final hole, the par-4, 462-yard No. 1, which ranked as the second-toughest hole of the week. With his make, Abercrombie moved up three spots on the leaderboard.
Freshman Steve Sugimoto (San Diego, Calif.) also gained ground over the final 18 holes, climbing 10 places into a tie for 30th at 10-over 226 on the heels of a 73. The Rancho Bernardo High alumnus managed to ease the sting of five bogeys somewhat with four birdies, highlighted by a successful conversion on the par-4, 424-yard No. 18, which ranked as the third-most difficult hole of the week.
Elsewhere, junior Otto Vanhatalo (Espoo, Finland) made a modest jump of his own, moving up three places into a tie for 56th at 18-over 234 after posting a final-round 77. The Torrey Pines High product opened with eight straight pars, but ran out of steam down the stretch, carding a double and two bogeys on his final three holes after making a birdie on the par-3, 181-yard No. 17.
Rounding out the Aztec contingent was freshman Christian Banke (Danville, Calif.), who finished one stroke behind Vanhatalo in a tie for 61st after stumbling to a 79 on Tuesday. The SDSU newcomer registered three birdies, including a successful drain on the par-3, 235-yard No. 8, which ranked as the toughest hole of the tournament. However, eight bogeys, including five straight on the front nine, proved too much to overcome.
San Diego State will have two weeks to gear up for its next tournament when it co-hosts the annual Lamkin San Diego Classic with USD, March 12-13, at San Diego Country Club in Chula Vista, Calif.
Team Standings (Top 5 of 15 teams + SDSU)
Individual Leaders (Top 8 of 78 players + SDSU)
* - competed as an individual