M. Golf Set to Compete at Arizona Tourney
March 13, 2014
SAN DIEGO - The San Diego State men's golf team resumes its busy spring schedule this weekend when it competes in the 2014 National Invitational Tournament, March 14-16, in Tucson, Ariz. The three-day, 54-hole event begins Friday on the par-72, 7,094-yard Catalina Course at OMNI Tucson National Golf Club.
The 38th-ranked Aztecs, who finished second in their own Lamkin Grips San Diego Classic on Tuesday, are among an impressive field of 14 teams participating in the University of Arizona's 10th annual tournament, which features seven additional squads ranked in the top 50 according to Golfstat. Headlining the group are No. 2 Oklahoma State and No. 3 California, followed by ninth-ranked Texas A&M, No. 19 New Mexico, 24th-ranked UNLV, No. 32 SMU and 42nd-ranked TCU, while, Marquette, New Mexico State, San Diego, UTEP and Wyoming round out the list of competing schools.
SDSU will be paired with SMU and UTEP during the first round Friday with a shotgun start on hole No. 10, beginning at 8 a.m. MST. A live scoring for all three days will be available courtesy of Golfstat on goaztecs.com.
Aztec head coach Ryan Donovan will employ the same starting lineup utilized in all three tournaments this spring, featuring junior Xander Schauffele (San Diego, Calif.), freshman Ricky DeSantis (Carlsbad, Calif.), sophomore Riccardo Michelini (Carpi, Italy), senior Austin Kaiser (Atascadero, Calif.) and freshman Nahum Mendoza III (San Diego, Calif.).
Schauffele captured medalist honors earlier this week at the San Diego Classic for his second individual collegiate title and first on The Mesa. With his finish, the Scripps Ranch High alumnus propelled SDSU to a second-place standing in its sole home tournament of the season and is now rated fourth in the Mountain West by Golfstat with a team-best 71.89 stroke average.
Schauffele is also the Aztecs' top returner from last year's National Invitational Tournament where he tied for 29th out of 90 competitors at 2-over 218, while Kaiser (+5) and Michelini (+6) landed in the 44th and 47th spots, respectively. As a team, the Scarlet and Black tied for eighth out of 16 schools with a combined 3-over 867, while Mountain West rival New Mexico (-20) claimed the team championship by one stroke over TCU (-19), which boasted the individual winner in Julien Brun. Brun, who is currently ranked eighth by Golfstat, returns to defend his title and will be joined by a pair of top five golfers, including No. 3 Wyndham Clark of Oklahoma State and No. 4 Brandon Hagy of California.
San Diego State has experienced previous success on the Catalina Course, winning the National Invitational Tournament in 2012 after recording a collective 5-under 859 to clip UNLV (-4) by one shot. The Aztecs also boasted the individual champion that year as J.J. Spaun led the pack with a combined 15-under 201 on rounds of 67-66-68.
Following this weekend's event, SDSU will be return to the course for the Stanford Invitational, March 28-30, in Stanford, Calif.