Men's Golf Vaults into Lead at Pebble Beach
Oct. 25, 2016
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – The San Diego State men’s golf team stormed into the lead at the Saint Mary’s Invitational on Tuesday after firing a combined 4-under-par 280 during the second round at the par-71, 6,927-yard Poppy Hills Golf Course.
With their score, the Aztecs trimmed 19 strokes off their previous round and now sit at 11-over 579 for the tournament heading into Wednesday’s final round.
Mired in ninth place after shooting an atypical 299 on Monday, SDSU took charge as the lone school in the 14-team field to post a collective red figure on day two of the 11th annual event, forging a four-stroke advantage over second-place Saint Mary’s (+15), while Fresno State (+20) San Francisco (+22) and Nevada (+25) comprise the rest of the top five.
Individually, the Aztecs’ round of the day belonged to PJ Samiere (Kailua, Hawaii), who tied the tournament-low with a 67 to catapult 49 places on the leaderboard into a five-way logjam for fourth at 2-over 144. The SDSU junior played spot-free golf, reeling off 13 straight pars before notching four birdies on his final five greens, including three straight to finish the round.
With his total, Samiere and fellow classmate Blake Abercrombie find themselves seven shots behind the leader, along with San Francisco’s Henry Chung and Inigo Benaran of Texas State and Fresno State. Edward Carrete of Saint Mary’s maintained his perch atop the standings at 5-under 137, while another USF golfer Tim Widing (-1) occupies the No. 2 position, followed by Arizona’s George Cunningham (+1).
Abercrombie moved up two spots on the heels of his second straight 72. The Rocklin, Calif., native eased the sting of five bogeys with four birdies, including back-to-back makes on the eighth and ninth greens.
Aztec seniors Gunn Yang (Pyeongchang, South Korea) and Nahum Mendoza III (San Diego, Calif.) displayed upward mobility as well during the second round. Yang climbed 20 places into a tie for ninth at 3-over 145 after carding a 70, while Mendoza finished the day one shot behind at 4-over 146, jumping 17 spots into a tie for 12th on the strength of a 71.
Yang recorded just one bogey on his scorecard, logging a team-high 15 pars to go along with a pair of birdies, including a successful drain on the par-5, 515-yard 18th to punctuate his round.
Meanwhile, Mendoza registered 10 pars and three birdies, including consecutive conversions on the ninth and 10th greens, but found himself at 2-over for the day after going bogey-bogey-double on holes 15-17. However, the reigning Mountain West Player of the Year regrouped in a big way, notching an eagle-3 on No. 18.
Despite six bogeys, redshirt freshman Trevor Norby (Carlsbad, Calif.) also moved up the ladder into the 56th position at 12-over 154 after carding a 76. The San Marcos High alumnus made birdie at No. 10 to go with 11 pars, including five straight to end his round.
Rounding out the Aztec contingent was sophomore Otto Vanhatalo (Espoo, Finland), an unattached golfer who shaved seven strokes off his opening-round total, finishing with a 75 to climb 10 places into a tie for 68th at 15-over 157. The Torrey Pines High product notched three birdies, highlighted by an impressive make on the par-4, 399-yard No. 13, which ranked as the third-toughest hole of the day.
The Saint Mary’s Invitational concludes on Wednesday with final-round action when San Diego State tees off alongside Fresno State and Saint Mary’s on hole No. 1, beginning at 9:20 a.m. PT.
Saint Mary’s Invitational
Team Scores (Top 5 of 14 teams)
Individual Leaders (Top 8 of 84 players + SDSU)
* - competing as an individual