Men's Golf Gearing Up for Southwestern Invite

Otto Vanhatalo and the Aztecs will compete at the Southwestern Invitational this week in the L.A. area.
Otto Vanhatalo and the Aztecs will compete at the Southwestern Invitational this week in the L.A. area.
Feb. 25, 2018

Live Results

SAN DIEGO – The San Diego State men’s golf team returns to the fairways this week when it travels to the Los Angeles area for the Southwestern Invitational, Feb. 26-27, at the par-72, 6,994-yard North Ranch Country Club in Westlake Village, Calif.

The two-day, 54-hole tournament, which will be contested on the Lakes and Oaks courses, is scheduled to commence on Monday with the first two rounds in a shotgun start, beginning at 7:30 a.m. PT, while the final 18 holes are slated for Tuesday with tee times off holes 1 and 10 as early as 7:45 a.m. A live scoring link for all three rounds will be available on GoAztecs.com courtesy of Golfstat.

Along with No. 39 SDSU, the event features seven additional schools among the latest Golfstat top 100 index, including No. 22 UCLA, No. 41 and tournament host Pepperdine, No. 48 Tennessee, No. 73 Michigan, No. 82 New Mexico, No. 87 UC Davis, No. 98 Loyola Marymount and No. 99 Oregon State. The Aztecs will also be afforded an early look at another Mountain West rival in San José State, while Augusta, Denver, Long Beach State, SMU and Washington State round out the list of competing squads.

For the San Fernando Valley excursion, SDSU head coach Ryan Donovan has penciled in the starting lineup of PJ Samiere (Kailua, Hawaii), Christian Banke (Danville, Calif.), Blake Abercrombie (Rocklin, Calif.) Otto Vanhatalo (Espoo, Finland) and freshman Steve Sugimoto (San Diego, Calif.).

The Aztecs are coming off a 13th-place standing at The Prestige at PGA WEST, where they posted a collective 33-over 601 after the opening round was canceled due to high winds. In his first collegiate start, Banke was SDSU’s top finisher, tying for 33rd with a 5-over 147.

The Aztecs find themselves at No. 39 in the latest Golfstat rankings, while the Scarlet and Black is listed 51st in the Golfweek/Sagarin index.

Samiere, who leads the team with a 71.35 scoring average, and Abercrombie (72.15) are the only two players to start in all 20 rounds for SDSU this season.

The Southwestern Invitational is the merger of two previously existing tournaments: the Southwestern Intercollegiate, launched by USC in 1978, and the Jones Invitational, hosted by Pepperdine in 2014 and 2015.

The Aztecs tied for eighth at last season’s event, the first utilizing the Southwestern Invitational appellation. SDSU shot a combined 19-over 883, finishing 13 strokes in back of SMU (+6) for a top-five placement. Samiere and Abercrombie are the lone returning starters from that trip after tying for 34th at 7-over 223.

SDSU captured the team title at the Jones Invitational in February 2014, after carding a collective 17-over 881 at Saticoy Country Club. Former Aztec Riccardo Michelini finished a solo second at the event, one shot away from medalist honors at 1-over 217, while Nahum Mendoza III (+20) tied for 48th. San Diego State was also victorious at North Ranch in 2011 and 2012 when the tournament was known as the North Ranch Intercollegiate. In the 2012 edition, Aztec alumnus Matt Hoffenberg captured medalist honors with a 2-over 212.

In addition, SDSU was a double winner at Saticoy in the fall of 2005 when Pepperdine hosted the Club Glove Intercollegiate. The Aztecs (+29) topped the Waves by 16 strokes, while David Palm defeated teammate Josh Warthen in a one-hole playoff for the individual title.

At last season’s event, Pepperdine (-21) captured both the team and individual crowns with Sahith Theegala earning medalist honors after posting a 10-under 206. Wave teammates Clay Feagler (T-3rd, (-8)) and Roy Cootes (T-8th, (-3)) are also back in the mix this year, along with Augusta’s Broc Everett (T-3rd (-8)) and Michigan’s Kyle Mueller (T-8th (-3)).

Following the Southwestern Invitational, San Diego State will have nearly two weeks to prepare for the Lamkin San Diego Classic, co-hosted by the University of San Diego on March 12-13 at San Diego Country Club in Chula Vista, Calif.

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