Men's Golf Takes Second at Gopher Invite
Sept. 11, 2016
INDEPENDENCE, Minn. -- The San Diego State men's golf team was unable to build on its slim lead at the Gopher Invitational Sunday, slipping into second place after shooting a collective 10-over-par 294 during the final round at Windsong Farm Golf Club. With their score, the Aztecs finished their season-opening tournament with a 54-hole total of 13-over 865 on the par-71, 7,388-yard course layout.
SDSU entered the day with a one-stroke advantage over Oklahoma; however, the Sooners recorded a 3-over 287 to successfully defend their team title from the previous year. Michigan State climbed into the third position one shot in back of the Aztecs at 14-over, while Kent State (+20) and New Mexico (+22) finished a distant fourth and fifth, respectively.
Despite the stumble, SDSU had three players complete the weekend among the top 11 on the individual leaderboard, including senior Nahum Mendoza III (San Diego, Calif.) and junior Blake Abercrombie (Rocklin, Calif.), who tied for seventh at 2-over 215.
Mendoza, who carded a final-round 72 to climb three places in the standings, eased the sting of three bogeys with a pair of birdies, including an impressive drain on the par-4, 435-yard No. 11, which ranked as the toughest green on Sunday.
Conversely, Abercrombie experienced a reversal of fortune, dropping two spots after firing a 74 over the final 18 holes. The Rocklin, Calif., native sank two birdies of his own, highlighted by a successful conversion on the par-3, 180-yard No. 7, which ranked as the fifth-most difficult hole of the round. However, five bogeys, including four on the back nine, proved too much to overcome.
In addition, senior Gunn Yang (Pyeongchang, South Korea) was unable to gain ground on the leaders, remaining in a tie for 11th at 2-over 216 on the heels of a final-round 73. The Torrey Pines High alumnus recorded 14 pars on the day, but managed to counter three bogeys with just one birdie at No. 15.
PJ Samiere (Kailua, Hawaii) also found birdies elusive, draining just two on the day against six bogeys en route to a 75. With his score, the Aztec junior was unable to avoid a drop of seven places into a tie for 23rd at 6-over 219.
The SDSU starting lineup also featured Eric Ghim (Glendale, Ariz.), who completed his best of the weekend with a 75. In his first collegiate tournament, the Aztec freshman notched eight pars and one birdie on the front nine, but had his momentum derailed by four bogeys and a double after the turn. Still, Ghim finished strong with birdies on the 16th and 18th greens to jump four places into a tie for 61st at 17-over 230.
For the second straight year, Oklahoma took home the team and individual titles after Grant Hirschman captured medalist honors with a 3-under 210. The Sooner golfer shot a final-round 69 to vault past the Michigan State duo of Sam Weatherford (-2) and Dylan Deogum (-1), while Raymond Knoll of Iowa (E) took fourth.
The Aztecs also had five student-athletes place among the top 20 in the auxiliary Gopher Invitational individual tournament, held at the par-72, 6,953-yard Pioneer Creek Golf Course in Maple Plain, Minn.
Junior Pablo Matesanz (Irun, Spain) tied for fifth with a combined 1-under 215 after carding a 70 on Sunday, highlighted by five birdies. In addition, sophomore Otto Vanhatalo (Espoo, Finland) finished alone in seventh at even-par 216, while senior Brian Song (Beverly Hills, Calif.), the second-round co-leader, slipped into a tie for eighth at 1-over 217, followed by freshman Ryan Hoffenberg (Simi Valley, Calif.), who tied for 11th at 6-over 222 , and redshirt freshman Trevor Norby (Carlsbad, Calif.), who landed in the 14th spot at 8-over 224.
San Diego State will have almost two weeks off before return to competition for the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate, Sept. 23-24, in Albuquerque, N.M.
Team Scores (Top 5 of 15 teams)
SDSU Individual Scores Only