Aztec Golfers Set to Open Spring Schedule at John Burns Intercollegiate in Hawaii

Feb. 19, 2007


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* The San Diego State men's golf team kicks off its 2007 spring campaign this week when it travels to Wahiawa, Hawaii, for the John Burns Intercollegiate, Feb. 21-23, at the 6,917-yard, par-72 Leilehua Golf Course. The University of Hawai'i will serve as host for the 54-hole tournament, which gets underway on Wednesday with an 8 a.m. HST shotgun start.

The three-day event features an elite field of 22 teams, including seven schools ranked in the top 35 according to the latest Golfweek/Sagarin Ratings released Feb. 18. Mountain West Conference members UNLV (7th) and Brigham Young (14th) are the two highest ranked teams in the tournament, followed by Texas A&M (15th), Arizona (27th), Auburn (29th) and defending John Burns champion SMU (31st).

San Diego State, meanwhile, begins the spring season with a No. 71 ranking in the Golfweek poll. In addition to the aforementioned programs, the Aztecs will also get an early look at three other MWC rivals this week in Colorado State, New Mexico and Utah.

The Scarlet and Black will be making its sixth straight appearance in the John Burns Intercollegiate after a fourth-place performance last year. The Aztecs have had a history of success in the tournament, capturing the team title in 2002 and posting a runner-up finish in 2003. Two Aztecs have occupied the top of the individual leaderboard in recent years as well, with John Lieber and Lars Johansson taking home medalist honors in 2002 and 2003, respectively.

Following the John Burns Intercollegiate, SDSU will have two weeks off before competing in the University of San Diego's Farms Collegiate Invitational, March 5-6, at The Farms Golf Club in nearby Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

* Head coach Ryan Donovan will take five golfers to the Aloha State this week, including juniors Aaron Goldberg and Jamie Puterbaugh, seniors Chris Cole, Cory Segall and junior Ryan Citarella. Goldberg and Puterbaugh were the only two Aztec players to compete in all five tournaments during the fall season, while Cole and Segall each appeared in three events. Citarella, meanwhile, is slated to participate in just his second tournament as an Aztec after competing as an individual at the Barona Collegiate Cup in October.

Goldberg is the only golfer of the group with playing experience at the John Burns Intercollegiate, finishing in a tie for 42nd place in 2006 after carding a 3-under 213. He also tied for 48th in 2004 with a even-par 216.

* San Diego State posted its fifth straight top-five finish of the 2005-06 campaign at last year's edition of the John Burns Intercollegiate. The 18th-ranked Aztecs placed fourth among a highly competitive field of 19 teams by shooting a 33-under-par 831. SMU took control of the third round to claim the overall team title with a 41-under 823, edging BYU by a slim one-stroke margin. New Mexico, SDSU and Colorado State rounded out the top five.

For the fourth time in six outings, senior Andrew Scott commanded the Aztecs' charge, completing all three rounds in the red to finish in a tie for third place out of 106 golfers. Scott's final score of 13-under-par 203 included a career- and tournament-best 8-under 64 during the second round of action, which ranks as the second lowest 18-hole score in SDSU history.

Sophomore David Palm vaulted from 58th place into a 12-way tie for 25th after carding a 5-under 67 in the third round. Senior Josh Warthen also made a move on the final day, climbing 11 spots from 48th into a tie for 37th with a 5-under 211.

Sophomore Aaron Goldberg was the fourth Aztec to break par for the tournament, finishing in a tie for 42nd with a 3-under 213.

After carding a 68 on the opening day, junior John Gray could not overcome a tough second round after shooting a 6-over 78 to finish in a tie for 79th overall with a 3-over 219.

* Among the many highlights for SDSU during its five- tournament fall schedule was a first-place team finish at the District 7 Shootout, Oct. 9-10, in Las Vegas Nev. Bolstered by four top-10 individual performances, the Scarlet and Black posted a season-best 30-under-par 822, outdistancing runner-up Boise State by 14 strokes. Aaron Goldberg captured medalist honors for the third time in his collegiate career after defeating Boise State's Troy Merritt on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff. Goldberg carded a 12-under 201 for the tournament, setting a new school record for lowest 54-hole score, eclipsing Andrew Scott's total of 203 set at the 2005 John Burns Intercollegiate. The Aztecs also received an exceptional effort from Chris Cole, who finished alone in third place with an SDSU career-best 8-under 205, including a final round 65, which is tied for third on the Aztecs' all-time list for the lowest 18-hole score.

Two weeks later, SDSU posted a fifth-place finish at the Barona Collegiate Cup in Lakeside, Calif. Three Aztecs cracked the top 20 on the individual leaderboard, including Goldberg (t-6th), Cole (t-14th) and sophomore transfer Adam Porzak (t-20th), who made his Scarlet and Black debut during SDSU's lone home tournament of the season.

The Aztecs wrapped up their fall slate in November with a fourth-place performance at the University of Hawai'i Fall Intercollegiate in Kaneohe, Hawaii. Battling treacherous winds, Goldberg recorded his fourth top-five effort in five outings by carding a 2-under 214 to finish alone in fourth. The Aztecs also got notable performances from Porzak (t-15th) and Cory Segall (t-19th), who vaulted into the top-20 for the first time this season.

* As a result of his stellar play during the fall season, Aaron Goldberg earned MWC Golfer of the Month honors in October and November, becoming the first SDSU player to capture the award in consecutive months since the conference's inception in 1999. The Encinitas, Calif., native was the Aztecs' top finisher in all five tournaments, completing 11 of 15 rounds below par. He also led the team with a 70.00 stroke average and four top-five finishes, including the individual title at the District 7 Shootout. Goldberg enters the spring ranked 59th in the Golfweek/Sagarin individual performance index.

HEAD COACH Ryan Donovan
* San Diego State alumnus Ryan Donovan is in his fourth season at the helm of the Aztec men's golf program. Under Donovan's tutelage last year, SDSU captured three tournament titles en route to its eighth straight NCAA regional appearance. Overall, the Aztecs compiled a 253-32 head-to-head record, finishing 29th in Golfweek/Sagarin's final collegiate poll.

Three Aztec golfers - seniors Andrew Scott and Josh Warthen and sophomore David Palm - also claimed individual titles during the season, while Scott and sophomore Aaron Goldberg garnered all-Mountain West Conference accolades.

In 2004-05, Donovan led SDSU to its second NCAA championship series appearance in three years after the Aztecs posted 12 top-10 individual finishes to go along with six straight top-five team finishes during the regular season.

Donovan was a four-year competitor for the SDSU golf squad from 1997- 2001. His most successful season came as a junior when he posted five top-30 finishes.

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